Lauris Vidal - Shoot Your Skeletons (Cover Artwork)

Lauris Vidal

Shoot Your Skeletons (2006)


When you grow up considering yourself a "punk" or "hardcore kid" you inevitably come to a time in your life when you're "burnt out." Generally, this involves either dropping out of underground music all together, or listening to a ton of Smiths records until you're ready to jump back on the punk/hardcore horse. Having come to that point I find it both increasingly difficult (yet equally reqarding) to find artists who still make music that can offer me that reprieve from all things fast and/or loud.

Lauris Vidal has been paramount in this process for me (and should be for you).

Listening to Lauris Vidal's debut EP, Shoot Your Skeletons, is not unlike giving Tom Waits a hug if you were to see him at a Paul Simon concert. Vidal's eclectic blend of indie rock, roots blues and hobo-style swamp jam is a tall, sweating glass of sweet tea shimmering in the sunlight of a hot day.

The opening track to the EP automatically calls up a Waits comparison with its processed vocal intro that seamlessly transitions into a locomotive beat that goads you to catch up and hop on for a five-song railway ride that will leave you with a grin.

But don't let the end-resulted "grin" mislead you. Lauris takes us to some contemplatively dark places as well. With lyrics like "I rest my head in my tail's lair / me, my ghost, and my hatred chair" from the title track, we realize that the intended grin we're left with comes from a sort of cathartic release more than an escapist bliss.

The hook to the opening track, "Bitter Pill for St. Valentine" expresses an understanding of the subject matter as Vidal belts out "Love will fuck you up." The entire release is peppered with simple little confessions amongst a juicy pot roast of subversively poetic lyrics such as, "I can still hear the sirens in my soul / moments on life support / youth afraid of growing old." The progression from one song to the next takes us on a journey from relational frustrations to socio-economic strife in "Bodybags." Then it's onto a sense of grounded hope in "Good Years, Dark Clouds" and ending with a feeling of physical and spiritual peace with "You'll Never Walk Alone."

In the tradition of good singer-songwriters, we get the feeling of a story without the pretension that often comes with a concept album. On top of all that, we get a bright rainbow of emotions and experiences in just a few songs.