Light A Match And Let It Burn Slowly
By: Eric Greenwood
Most of the time it's easy to guess what genre an album is just by glancing at the artwork. This is, admittedly, a pretty shallow practice, but it's a knee-jerk reaction, deeply imbedded in my brain. I've always done it, and I always will. I think the fact that I'm pretty good at it perpetuates the problem. Well, Fitzgerald threw me off track, slightly. I had it so pegged for emo punk, perhaps, because of visions of Gatsby's American Dream running through my head (you know, with the Fitzgerald reference and all), but it turns out that it's actually emo folk. D'oh! Silly me.
Fitzgerald's brand of folk is fairly straightforward. It's a male/female duo with interweaving vocal melodies set against a tight acoustic backdrop. The level of experimentation is limited, although the duo does incorporate cello and "sampled submarine sonar" into its mawkish pop constructs. Fitzgerald's open-faced honestly leaves little to the imagination. The vocals are all clearly enunciated, even dramatically so. The lyrics mine the politics of personal struggle, "ranging from the jubilant to the defeated, from darkness to dawn and back again." Uh, ok. Just as you'd expect from a pair that moved to India "to do intense humanitarian work."
The crisp production and creative guitar lines hold my interest just until the vocals come in every time, and then it's right on to the next track. Fitzgerald makes the likes of Ida or even Damon and Naomi seem positively groundbreaking in terms of artistry. There is an audience for this, however. It just happens to be inside of a pretentious coffee shop in the Northwest filled with bearded freaks donning skullcaps and wooly coats. A coffee shop that I would never enter on purpose.