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.
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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.