Monday, May 03, 2010

Review: Walter Schreifels, An Open Letter to the Scene

 Walter Schreifels
An Open Letter to the Scene
While initially listening to An Open Letter to the Scene, an album I assumed to be some unknown artist’s debut, all I did was compare it to things I already knew, try to place it in someone else’s terms. However, the musician behind said letter, Walter Schreifels, is certainly anything but an unknown, he is an established fixture in music. 

Schreifels was heavily involved in New York’s hardcore scene during the 80’s, (notably in Gorilla Biscuits). His latest album is as much a reflective tribute as it is an introduction to a whole new Schreifels. In An Open Letter to the Scene, he has progressed all the way into indie-rock-with-a-dash-of-folk. Instrumentally, the album is simple, stripped down: each track’s sound centers on four briskly strummed acoustic guitar chords backed by drums, two-part harmony male vocals, only occasionally does one hear other instruments. 

Now take note of the title. What is an open letter’s function? In the title track “Open Letter,” Schreifels sings “Don’t forget the struggle, don’t forget the streets, don’t send out an open letter to the scene.” BUT, even though those lyrics may suggest the opposite, this album really is an open letter, a “hey, guys, here’s what I think, I’m forty years old and here’s where I’ve come, take it or leave it, this is me.” I’ll take it.

Recommended Tracks: “Arthur Lee’s Lullaby,” “Open Letter”
-- Fiona Hanly
"Sweet 'n' Flo," Mondays 12-1 pm on WGTB


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