Jack's Songs for Long Drives & Awkward Silences

Jeffrey Krause is a cool dude. He typically reviews music for sites much more reputable than this… but… today we luck out.

I’ll be honest and up front from the outset: I didn’t want to like this 4 song EP. Not because I have something against Jack Gazdik (vocalist for Strong Waves Kill Weak Swimmers), or because I don’t like acoustic/folk/indie music. Upon receiving the album for review, I was afraid that what I’d find is another unsigned DIY rip-off of the rest of the genre. What I found upon spinning Songs For Long Drives & Awkward Silences, though, was something quite different.

Before diving into the songs individually, let’s take this for what it is: self-produced, self-recorded, rough around the edges, unrefined. In short, everything I love about music.

Let’s start at the end. It only helped the cause that Gazdik includes (and pulls off well) a cover of Bon Iver’s “Blood Bank”. Some covers can be void of feeling, a cheap rendition of a brilliant original. Jack doesn’t fall into that trap here. He covers Iver, and covers him well. While he’s not in the same ballpark vocally, Bon Iver is a tough act to live up to. For what it is, the song is amazing.

The rest of the EP is equally solid. Again, knowing it was self recorded and produced, one who has an ear for music beyond the casual listener will (or should) give a bit of additional leeway when approaching the recording, as opposed to say, Sufjan. Keeping that in mind, it’s easy to look at the remainder of the EP and see tons of potential, heart, and passion for the craft.

“Turning Headstones” opens the EP with an upbeat, poppy feel, reminiscent to me of what The Polyphonic Spree might pull off if they were a 2 or 3 member band rather than 20. It’s catchy, incorporates more instrumentation than the rest of the album, and is a great way to start the release.

Next up is “It Just Might Happen”. To be frank, this is where Jack pulled me in. So much can be said about this 2:21 song. The best way I could come up to describe it was this: think one part Sufjan, one part William Fitzsimmons, and throw the song on a Wes Anderson soundtrack as the backdrop of a car drive in a convertible with the top down (Bottle Rocket, anyone). It’s an amazing song, that is just right at 2 ½ minutes, and yet, not nearly long enough.

“If You Still Got Some” carries on the feel started by the song preceding it. More of the same, slightly different tone, but same delivery and result. Another great tune.

Overall, if you haven’t heard of or taken the time to check out Jack Gazdik, you need to. A 4 song EP setting the backdrop for long drives has but one downfall: It’s not long enough.

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~ by thepaintedman on December 15, 2010.

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