Punknews.org
Kelley Stoltz - Below the Branches (Cover Artwork)

Kelley Stoltz

Kelley Stoltz: Below the BranchesBelow the Branches (2006)
Sub Pop Records

Reviewer Rating: 3


Contributed by: AnchorsAnchors
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Kelley Stoltz is a man that's not afraid to make known his influences. I wouldn't go so far as to say he's riding anyone's coattails, but song after song makes it more than apparent that bands like Pink Floyd and songwriters like John Lennon are such. Using his piano as a driving force, such inst.
iTunes StoreAmazon


Kelley Stoltz is a man that's not afraid to make known his influences. I wouldn't go so far as to say he's riding anyone's coattails, but song after song makes it more than apparent that bands like Pink Floyd and songwriters like John Lennon are such.

Using his piano as a driving force, such instruments as bass, guitar, clarinet, and harmonium all find their way into the fold at one point or another, with a little help from a small but strong supporting cast of musicians. Regardless, however, of any instrumental twist Stoltz throws out, it's his voice that's most prevalent in the music, and it's his voice that needs to make an impact.

The problem is that I don't find his voice to be all that engaging. It's not off-key, it's not crackly, but it just doesn't grab me. That's not to say I can't derive some enjoyment, however, as there are some endearing qualities on the record that regardless of my opinions, I can appreciate. The whimsical "Prank Calls" gives Stoltz's voice a very 'old-timey' garage rock feel, and even the piano keystrokes evoke thoughts of an old time speakeasy. The retro feel of that song is not indicative of the entire record, however, as tracks like "Words" offer a much lighter, a much more mellow feel. Stoltz tries to let his voice take a bit more command here, as the piano merely serves as a background for the soulful crooning. Still though, I can't shake the feeling of wishing his voice had a bit more of an actual pull, rather than just being 'good.'

Many people may not share my sentiments, as this isn't a very serious album. I'm not saying it's a joke -- far from it, but the lighthearted musings and playfully painted feelings are nothing wrenching, and nothing overly serious or thought provoking. That's for another songwriter, another time and place. One look at the lyrics for "Memory Collector" will cement that realization;

It's your being in the simplest song, it's the melody so strong / It won't let you forget what it is you've done, between the brain and the blackboard every lesson / Right or wrong you know that you're still guessing / And that shine hasn't been replaced it'll hide the lines on your face.
Silly and nonsensical, the lyrics require no more thought from a listener than the most basic of song structures and instrumentation. Taking numerous cues from a simpler time in music -- the `60s, Stoltz establishes a stong, albeit not completely memorable basis, on which to build his playful songs and style.

 


Please login or register to post comments.What are the benefits of having a Punknews.org account?
  • Share your opinion by posting comments on the stories that interest you
  • Rate music and bands and help shape the weekly top ten
  • Let Punknews.org use your ratings to help you find bands and albums you might like
  • Customize features on the site to get the news the way you want.
Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Anonymous (August 17, 2006)

not punk....go figure

Anonymous (August 16, 2006)

Come on... Give me a break. Kelley Stoltz is my best friend. He rules man.
I am serious. Don't let me catch you pretending that he is not doing great man.
I am serious... i will march over there and rip your shoes off. Love it.
Be it. Show it. Cool man.. peace out JEsus.

Anonymous (August 16, 2006)

Kelley Stolt is gonna knock your socks off and leave you wishing you could make your own music. I am totally serious. I know about it.
Did you no know man? He is gonna knock our socks off.
"Everyone knows about it".
love---bibbity

five_alarm_fire (August 15, 2006)

Good review of a mediorce disc.

Nice job fella.

Exclusive Streams

Newest Reviews

Punknews.org Team

Other Places to Go