By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
The latest project from Fort Worth's Katsuk, Skeleton Key, is an unusually ambitious EP that funnels a diverse collection of sounds through an acoustic filter, effectively purifying each of the offering's seven songs. The earnest lyrics that frontman and band namesake Daniel Katsuk delivers, with an often-times Oberst-style warble, strive for substantial meaning and a purposeful spirituality.
While convincing, Katsuk's noble venture into the realm of tribal rhythms and his espousing of various global influences do tend to cause a bit of trans-Atlantic whiplash in the span of this EP. To more fully comprehend what Katsuk is attempting to provide, imagine what Guster might offer from a musical perspective after watching a National Geographic Channel special detailing the cultural arts of the Ottoman Empire from their bus—while perusing a Bob Marley biography during the commercials—on a tour with Ray LaMontagne.
By simply taking a look at Skeleton Key's album art and even Katsuk's Web site, it's clear that Katsuk is posturing to create an image for himself as something more than a dreadlocked, suburban, 20-something with a tattered copy of Entering the Stream tucked safely into his Baja hoodie poncho. And, for the most part, Katsuk rises above such clichés that often claim the soul-patches of college-aged open-mic barnstormers possessing similar visions of a higher plane.
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