Robert Skoro: Proof (Merciful Recordings)

But Skoro is his own songwriter, existing in a middle space I’ve yet to settle into.

A confident and pretty first solo record, Robert Skoro’s Proof surveys the geography of romance: a lover’s address on a wall in “In Line”; a windowsill seat over Fifth Avenue in “Heaven”; a heart-pull from up the street in “2318.” These details of place dot the record nicely, but the songs don’t quite flesh out the characters who exist within them.

Skoro’s been compared to Elliott Smith, and he does share Smith’s skills of layering songs (particularly as the songs progress) and use of high, hushed harmonies. But Skoro is his own songwriter, existing in a middle space I’ve yet to settle into. His songs don’t carry the sheen of a pop star’s (he’s wittier and more inspired than any Sheik or Mayer), but they lack the grit that give texture to the work of Chris Mills, Matthew Ryan, or even Smith himself.

Balancing out a few of Proof’s generic lyrics (“You wrote the book of what it is to be beautiful”) is the chorus of “New Science,” the album highlight. Displaying conviction, originality, and humor, Skoro unveils his latest plan: “I’ll start a new science/To see what I’m about/It starts with our alliance/The rest I’m working out.”

It’s a clever series of lines, and the song itself may be enough to keep me listening. Maybe, if I stick around, the record’s characters will finally show their faces.

You can find Proof at www.robertskoro.com.

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