The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Texas’ Votolato slows down

“Please, slow it down,” croons Rocky Votolato on the first track of his fourth studio release, “Makers.” Slowing it down is exactly what Votolato has done as he returns to his musical roots and creates a simpler, more inspired record. Originally from Texas, Votolato’s early influences were appropriately country and classic 60’s rock. The sparse recordings of “Makers,” which generally feature the backing of an additional acoustic guitar or harmonica, testify to these roots.

Twenty-eight year old Votolato, the father of two, has sought to simplify the new record and keep out anything unnecessary. Votolato has succeeded in creating an authentic sounding record that doesn’t fall victim to sounding too overproduced. This is ironic, considering that this record took over a year and a half to record compared to the less than two weeks that marked the recording sessions of Votolato’s previous efforts.

Votolato’s commitment to making this record everything he could, seems to have paid off. “White Daisy Passing,” the opening track of the album, recently appeared on an episode of ‘The O.C.’ causing the song to be downloaded thousands of times in just one day. While it doesn’t look like Votolato’s stardom will reach Death Cab for Cutie heights any time soon, it is apparent his recent song appearance on ‘The O.C.’ has given him even more followers.

While initially all sounding similar, on closer inspection each track is crafted with difference that manifests itself on repeated listens. “The Night’s Disguise,” is one of the best tracks, adding additional maracas and sounding overall a lot fuller than many of the other tracks on the album. The vocal harmonization on “Uppers Aren’t Necessary,” along with its late harmonica and fast pace draws the listener in, while the opening track “White Daisy Passing” features a sparse instrumentation, which highlights the great lyrics. Many of the songs carry across smoothly and steadily like a freight train, not too fast, but nevertheless carrying a lot of weight.

Votolato’s lyrics attempt to walk the line between autobiographical and fictional, so as to try and create something which really resonates with the listener. Formerly of emo band Waxwing, his lyrics have always been emotional. While the lyrics do occasionally border on being a bit too much, Votolato is mostly successful in creating emotional lyrics that don’t abandon themselves to an all-out confessional, nor regurgitating saccharine idioms. Generally his lyrics are clever, and they do a large part in creating the better songs of the album.

“Makers” is an album which takes some time to get into. While not as immediately appealing as his previous works, the result of spending a lot of time with this album is well worth it. There is enough depth to the lyrics and creativity to the arrangements to merit at least a few listens which makes this record better than most. While there are no shortage of heart-on-their-sleeve folk singer-songwriters, Rocky Votolato is at least a cut above the rest.

 

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