Friday, June 2, 2017

Sxip Shirey, A Bottle of Whiskey and a Handful of Bees

The smack-down of review CDs in our now very tiny space has called for my continual attention, as the hustle and bustle and multi-purposes of the space usage threaten at all times to create impossible pile jumbles. So far, so good, but it can be tough. For example somehow today's CD, Sxip Shirey's A Bottle of Whiskey and A Handful of Bees (VIA 11).  I found it at the bottom of a box that was supposed to contain new music classical. When I unearthed it again I remembered I had liked it so I gave it the requisite final listens. After those I realized that here was something special, certainly nothing to do with classical, but instead an intriguing mix of distinctive alt rock sensibilities along with a bluesiness-rootsiness and at times a hip-hoppish veneer. None of those aspects come through conventionally. That is all the more reason this one is so different and, I must say, cool.

Xavier and Sxip do the vocals and both are excellent. There are instrumentals, too. All of it has a brilliant arranger's touch and a very hip memorability. Lyrics are something to ponder but nothing I would want to categorize on this page. Some seem well beyond the range of pop radio!

The combinations of electro-synths and conventional or unconventional instruments are uncannily out of the ordinary. And the more I hear it, the more distinctively compelling the music seems.

Sxip is not an ordinary commercial artist. The commerciality is twisted and turned so that people may dig it but it speaks originally and satisfyingly on its own terms. Is Sxip the new Brian Wilson/Van Dyke Parks? In a way but not in a way you'd expect. Does that get your attention? Well this disk got mine!

A real ear-opener!

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