Mack Starks

Blind Spot (Nitrolian)

"I know you built something last night/Is it a cage? Is it a bridge?" With this question, sung on Blind Spot's title track, Nashville's Mack Starks doesn't waste any time making his emotions known on this touching and attentive album. Straddling a line between classic singer-songwriters of the '70s (Jackson Browne, James Taylor) and more recent, angular pop tunesmiths such as John Vanderslice and Paul Brill, Starks is the classic, overly sensitive mope, though his romanticism is confined to ghosts of past girlfriends making their way through his house and head. Though he occasionally displays an earnestness that borders on pretension, Starks grounds his emotive muse in songs that sparkle with touches of tape loops and even mandolin. "Loose Balloon" and "The Fog That Follows" are keen expressions of male self-pity: "When I'm stuck, I'm hell to loosen," Starks sings on the latter, while his slick but engaging musical backdrop chugs along at an unhurried pace. Ending, appropriately, with a cover of Neil Young's "Depression Blues," Starks' Blind Spot is the sound of a guy surveying his recent past and wallowing in the creative sparks inherent in defeat.

 
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