Paul Kloschinsky – Nobody Knows
Paul Kloschinsky, like many of our finest talents, has largely worked off the radar as one of the best songwriters in the indie scene, but recognition is increasingly forthcoming. The laudatory critical notices continue piling up, awards are handed out, and Kloschinsky’s long pull away from the rest of the pack is closer to reality than ever with his latest release. The ten song collection Nobody Knows is anchored by some tried and true musical elements, for instance acoustic guitar and violin, but Kloschinsky’s songwriting vision extends far beyond unoriginal recreations of traditional music. He brings a number of influences to bear on the songwriting and incorporates them all into his songs with a steady, confident hand.
Some might quibble with the presentation. The album’s sound has a muted, funereal quality, but while Kloschinsky’s DIY realities demand certain concessions, there’s not a single production decision affecting the material in an averse fashion. If anything, the muted sonics give the material unintentional atmospherics it might otherwise lack. The title song is an ideal example. It is a meditative effort, but there’s a mood of artful restraint surrounding the song. Kloschinsky sings like a man who knows more than he’s letting on. “Do You Remember?” has a much more studied, openly sensitive air. Kloschinsky’s musical skill set means he understands the ideal marriage between arrangement, melody, and lyrical content. The added bonus, however, is that Kloschinsky understands how to finish it all off with his thoughtful delivery. “I Long For You” is one of the album’s more direct songs and his condensed, tightly packed intimacy drives much of its effectiveness. Songs like this flirt with commercial influences without ever pandering for attention in any significant way.
Kloschinsky spends much of his songwriting energy exploring connections to experience through his songwriting, particularly romantic entanglements, and the bluntly entitled “Ravish Me” covers much more ground than typical songs of its type. “Sing for the Silence” is certainly one of the album’s more unusual moment, practically a quasi-psychedelic acoustic turn with dreamy, elongated vocal melodies and an accompanying arrangement that achieves its effects through accumulation rather than any outright hook. “Can’t Forget About You”, however, practically demands a full fledged rock arrangement. The acoustic drive of the song has remarkable stridency for the relatively laid back nature of this album and its steady rise will prove an exhilarating listen for many. “Tell Everybody” has a vague Dylan vibe, but Kloschinsky never overplays his hand and lapses into outright mimicry. The album closes with the pleasingly layered “Xmas Time Is Near” which manages to honor the holiday it celebrates while moving listeners in a far deeper, more surprising fashion.
Nobody Knows continues a string of first class releases from Paul Kloschinsky and rates as his most sustained effort yet. His efforts are accessible, yet readily surrender perhaps surprising depths to listeners willing to travel with him. This is traditional music filtered through the prism of an unique personality and certain to leave a lingering positive impression on any astute listeners.
9 out of 10 stars.