Friday, December 11, 2009

Review: Tyler Blanski Out from the Darkness

Artist: Tyler Blanski
Album: Out from the Darkness
From his twangy, folksy guitar sounds to his slight Southern drawl, Tyler Blanski seems to thoroughly embody the style of country music. However, it is the creative touches that set him apart, such as the flurry of typewriter keys that accompany the opening strains of the first song on the album, “Two Inches Apart” and his beautiful yet ordinary lyrics. His songs tell everyday stories fraught with emotion—for example, in “Two Inches Apart” he laments that he has forgotten “the way you taste / when we kissed by the car” but still remembers that, when drinking coffee, “you always added cream / and stirred it with a knife.” These little snapshots provide the simplest details of the stories told in his songs, and to great effect: they make the songs lovelier and more memorable for the listener. As Tyler Blanski himself has said, I want to write songs that people can relate to…songs that convict and inspire, songs that make a grown man want to swing on a swing set.
Unfortunately, some of Tyler Blanski’s guitar twanging can get a little abrasive to the ear, such as in “St. Francis,” whose beginning chords are harsh and relentless. Most of songs are slower, though, and more forgiving on the listener. In terms of melody, one of the most beautiful songs is “When I Was Sampson,” which alludes to the biblical character of Samson. The singer expresses that he is “tangled up in love” but tells his Delilah, “I won’t let you cut my hair.” The rest of the song is very Christian-sounding in lyrics, referencing many biblical stories and the words of Jesus, another aspect of Tyler Blanski’s music that sets him solidly in the country genre. However, after digesting the lyrics, the listener cannot help but draw a parallel between “When I Was Sampson” and the song “Samson” by Regina Spektor, which is superior all around.
At the album’s close, the opening of the last song, “Black Bottom,” again incorporates the sounds of typewriter keys with the guitar. This is a clever framing device to the album. The lyrics to the song are also quite pretty and poignant, expressing the singer’s desire to “roam and catch and sing the sun.” Thus, the story of the album is granted some nice closure.
 Altogether, “Out from the Darkness” is a pretty solid album, but still decidedly amateur. For fans of country music, though, it presents an interesting take on the typical songs of the genre, since it is a little softer and sweeter than much of the popular country songs. 
-- Clio Seraphim, "Just You Just Me," Mondays 8-10 A.M.

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