US - California - Full Moon 139 - 01/22/08
Sub Pop / Tuba!
DIY home-recording one-man-band, multi instrumentalist Kelley Stoltz has come to his 4th album with Circular Sounds. He has come a long way in a short time since his bedroom lo-fi cassette player recordings. Circular Sounds is recorded at home as usual, but he's been doing some overdub work in studios. To quote Stoltz him: "I've started to appreciate good sound. By the last record I was mid-fi. I think I'm mid-hi now!"
Kelley Stoltz' album career started with Crockodials (Beautiful Happiness Records, 2005), which was Stoltz' alternate take (mostly from memory) of his all-time favourites, Crocodiles by Echo & The Bunnymen. It was followed by the acclaimed Antique Glow (Jackpine Social Club), before he was signed to Sub Pop. Below the Branches came in 2006, and here's its sequel.
Kelley Stoltz is an indie-type Brian Wilson meets Elliot Smith. Except Stoltz isn't as happysad gloomy as Smith was. "Everything Begins" is sort of a circling sounding song, hence the album title, with Beach Boys-like harmonies. Yes, because Kelley Stoltz is quite stuck in the 60s. The Kinks (check "Tintinnabulation" or "Put My Troubles to Sleep"), Love, and so on. Stoltz write songs that have got this dazed and lazy expression, just like The Kinks used to have. "Your Reverie" is a psychedelic pop gem. "Something More", "Morning Sun", "You Alone" and the aforementioned "Everything Begins" are other favourites of mine. Besides that 14 songs are a few too many, but otherwise Circular Sounds and Kelley Stoltz are good company.
PS! My girlfriend raised an eyebrow when I told her - the VOLVO fanatic she is - that Stoltz' "Birdies Singing" (off Below the Branches) was used to soundtrack a Volvo TV commercial.
Copyright © 2008 Håvard Oppøyen