Michael Gross and the Statuettes | Dust & Daylight (s/r)

cd_michael-gross.jpgThe bright resonance of the guitar and the glimmering backdrop of the rhythm section provide the perfect setting for frontman Michael Gross to impart his heartfelt lyrics.

 

 

 

 

 

If you enjoy indie pop at all, there’s a chance that one or two of your new favorites are on the new EP Dust & Daylight by Michael Gross and the Statuettes. I know, because it happened to me. The bright resonance of the guitar and the glimmering backdrop of the rhythm section provide the perfect setting for frontman Michael Gross to impart his heartfelt lyrics.

Hailing from Utah, the Salt Lake City-area three piece melds elements of pop with a barely palpable taste of country in the first track, "I’ve Been Wrong Before." The droning background keys, coupled with the back-of-a-warehouse echo on the guitar tracks and the elegant simplicity of Benjamin Johnson’s bass lines, adds a dreamlike effect to the piece that gives credibility to the sincerity of lyrics, such as "This little light is gonna shine/ Shine until the morning comes again."

Second track "Stone Face" adds a mysterious flavor of jazz influences with the sparse, syncopated drumbeat provided by percussionist Matt Glass that falls to the background when the vocals break in at the beginning with the demand, "Have some faith in me, honey/ Have a little hope that I’ll come around." More than the first track, the feeling is that this song introduces the listener to Gross with a bit more familiarity, as his voice is more stark in the absence of heavy instrumental surroundings, yet the resonating guitars of Gross and James Kelly continue and provide more of a showcase for the words. The introduction is illustrious of Gross’s talent as a vocalist, though, and gives support to a long-time belief of mine that if you can sing well without having to sing loud, you’ve got something going.

The remaining four tracks are power-pop gems crafted by the band, with help from Aaron Hubbard on keys, that mix the genre standard of songs about love, as in the selection "Novocaine" with the reflective everyman stocktaking of "Life in the Middle." The extra seventh track is a hidden treasure that is best listened to with your eyes closed. It typifies that quality of good songwriting that makes you, the listener, relate to the artist by picturing the images it invokes and recognizing them in your own relationships. A | Jason Neubauer

RIYL: The Maxtone Four, The Apples in Stereo, Ted Leo and the Pharmacists

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