Review: Sam Skinner – Danny Through Junior

They’re a talented bunch, those Pinegrove guys and gals, and guitarist Sam Skinner is the latest to break from the day job to release an intriguing and beguiling solo EP.

Only five songs long, ‘Danny Through Junior’ is a kaleidoscope of textures and sounds, as beautifully arranged as Pinegrove’s ‘Cardinal’ breakout but a few steps removed from the group’s indie-rock/alt-country influenced sound.

In fact, it’s easy to be reminded about Brooklyn’s Volcano, I’m Still Excited!! throughout ‘Danny Through Junior’, as there’s a similar melancholy feel and woozy playfulness about songs like ‘Chestnuts’ and ‘Joel’ that recalls the irreverent and pioneering Polyvinyl act at their loosest and infectious best.

It means ‘Danny Through junior’ is a constant surprise, filled with so many rich layers it’s a warm and inviting listen, but requires a little bit of patience to really get every nuance. Indeed, you could just focus on a particular sound and let it carry you through the song. It’s a rewarding and enjoyable journey and testament to Skinner’s stunning arrangements that you want to invest so much in a bittersweet five song EP.

It feels appropriately different from Pinegrove too, despite the similar countrified guitar tones, with the gorgeous ‘Stout’ in particular serving as an appropriate bridge. That said, Skinner’s haunting vocals are a world away from Evan Stephens Hall’s, so ‘Danny Through Junior’ never feels like it is just a Pinegrove-lite EP. Instead, it has a style and charm that is all its own – and is all the better for it.

4/5

’Danny Through Junior’ by Sam Skinner is out now on Soft Speak Records.

Sam Skinner links: Website|Bandcamp

Words by Rob Mair (@BobNightMair)

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