Stu E Skinner – Parallels
Channeling sounds from rock authorities such as Queens Of The Stone Age and Foo Fighters, Stu E Skinner dishes up a special slice of rock-infused acoustica.
‘Drowning Time’ opens the album with a prominent acoustic guitar and classic rock drums driving the track along. As previously mentioned, Stu E Skinner’s voice doesn’t sound unlike Dave Grohl, but he has his own unique sound that sets him apart and allows his music to stand up on its own terms. The acoustic guitar that runs throughout flecks the track with americana, creating a rich sound.
‘The Way Of Things’ has a distant, thoughtful quality to it, and at points reminds me of music by the somewhat obscure Additional Moog, who were in turn influenced by Pavement and their alt.folk loving guitarist, Spiral Stairs (otherwise known as Scott Kannenberg). The squealing wah-wah guitar adds bite and crunch to the track, always welcome on this style of music.
Things pull back a little on ‘Oceans’, a chorus-laden acoustic track. The effects themselves create a watery feel, and the organ in the background adds an ebb and flow to the music as things continue to build, with a gritty, grumbling bass that sounds like it’s going to fall apart at any moment – a beautiful moment.
Getting slightly hotter, ‘Paralysed’ kicks in with a shuffling drum section, while Skinner’s vocals take a few risks that pay off, in the shape of some falsetto jumps here and there. It’s on the more upbeat songs on Parallels that things get exciting – ‘Summer’s Song’ could almost be a few BPM too fast for its own good, but it really, really works, like when you’re riding a bike down a hill and not sure if you’re going to be able to keep it together for the whole way.
Closing with ‘Firefly’, Parallels is a special collection on acoustically driven rock & roll. The final track is soft and tender, glowing like a candle wick in its dying moments with delicate clarity it is recording, the guitar work is captivating and a touching ending to an engaging collection of songs.