Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Spiral Stairs
The Real Feel
Matador Records

This is Bob “Spiral Stairs” Kannberg’s first true solo album, and the first record from him since Preston School of Industry’s 2004 album "Monsoon." Kannberg was also a founding member of Pavement.

His theme is his divorce from his first wife, and the emotional devastation that followed, from which he emerged as a happier, healthier person. The lyrics are dark, but not gloomy, they recount the darkness he felt, and what it took to bring him back into the light. He’s positive that music will hold him together, even though there were times he felt he could not make music anymore. This is all accomplished without making the lyrics or the theme a cliché. That’s not easy to do, but he makes it look easy.

Musically, this album is mix and match, some Rumors/Tusk era Fleetwood Mac, some Dylan circa Blood on the Tracks/Desire, the deep blues of Nick Cave, the plainspoken honesty of the Go-Betweens, and Richard and Linda Thompson’s Shoot Out the Lights. Stairs has managed to blend these very different sounds and bands together very well, with the help of bassist Matt Harris, drummer Darius Minwalla, the Posies Jon Auer, and his friends in Australia. Australia will also be his home from now on, because he has a fiancé there.

The Real Feel is an album rich with musical and lyrical detail. It feels real. It’s his world. Welcome to a great album. []
Andrea Weiss

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