“Skyhouse and Scarlet”
Jason Rubero is a talent to keep an eye on. His album Skyhouse and Scarlet is a seminal listening experience, traversing many different sonic styles to create an album that plays as a whole better than most I’ve heard in a good while. This is the kind of blend that makes the best music, and I have a feeling Rubero is just getting started.
Opening with the catchy harmonics of “Look At Me”, the album comes out blazing. With a slight tinge of Pink Floyd in the background, though it certainly isn’t the mainline of the song, you can’t help but enjoy this one, and it gives you a good glimpse of what this album is going to become. You are quickly led into the gentle soothing sounds of Beatlesque title track “Skyhouse and Scarlet”, one of my favorites on the album. This song has everything from a catchy hook to timewarp vocals. It’s almost like we’re hearing a blend of the best of Rubero’s many influences combined with his very formidible skill as a songsmith. If you like “Strawberry Fields” you’ll love this one.
And while I’m on the subject of Rubero’s tenacity as a songwriter, I feel I should mention his excellent lyrics. On “Meet The Artist”, he sings Still, I would like more than the glimpse / I caught since I first saw the mercywheel / I want to meet the Man, the perfect Artist / Who can summon all I see, hear, feel. And this theme continues thoughout the album, this man’s need to be able to take what he feels and detail it. He writes in “Asphalt and Glasses”, that My hopeless words are cold and pale / Like lifeless heroes so perfectly flawed and human. But as the album winds down, he writes of faith and reality and how we seem to find these to be mutually exclusive things. He writes It isn’t faith that makes me nervous / But religion engineered by man / Folding God like oragami / Until He fits so neatly in our hand / And we don’t want to think / We don’t want to feel / Believe all we touch is all that’s real (“Feel”)
When the album is done, these songs form something complete. We can appreciate the wonderous way the music blends and bends to move us through a sonic dream world. And the lyrics give the album a real sense of meaning. Skyhouse and Scarlet is the kind of album you don’t come across often, a series of songs that will remind you upon every listen what truly is real. It’s worth every minute.
Listen to Jason Rubero at http://www.mp3.com/jasonrubero
Quarter Inch Jack
Quarter Inch Jack could at first glance be shunned into the ever growing group of cookie cutter alterna-rock bands. But you’d be wrong to do this. Though they sound like many bands who have come before them, Quarter Inch Jack has compiled an album that is both an excellent find and a great album to listen to again and again.
The album opens with the crunching guitars and solid vocals this band has become known for around Atlanta. Jacen Stewart has a voice that blends the sounds of vocals from Creed, Nickelback and Default, giving him a very distinct voice that can handle almost anything. Songs like “Yesterday”, “Eye”, “Driver”, and “Ballad of Me” show how good this band is at creating great rock music. With hard rocking music that sounds like anything from Fuel to Soundgarden, Creed to Collective Soul, I could tell Quarter Inch Jack has a sound that will take them places.
Their distinct taste makes a distinct album, one that plays well as a whole, something I can’t usually say for a lot of modern alternative rock. While they might not be recognized as a solid act based on individual songs alone, the album proves that Quarter Inch Jack is truly as good as the sum of their parts. These eleven songs all combine to create something that truly is balanced, and I frankly am glad I heard it.
Hear Quarter Inch Jack at http://www.mp3.com/quarterinchjack
Stay tuned in September for In My Headphones Volume 6, featuring Lee Tyler Post’s “House of Miles”, Don Campbell’s “The Fog Of War” and Mark Hewer’s “Anthology”!