Album Reviews

Music You Don't Know You Like Yet

KELLI SCARR

Piece

2010-09-17

Bio: Kelli Scarr was born in Monterey, CA, and at the age of twelve, Kelli moved with her mom and brother to the small mining town of Folsom, California, made popular by its’ local prison and a very special concert held there in 1968. Her interest in music and recording grew early, starting at the age of three with her nana using a handheld cassette recorder to record her singing. Growing up amongst the soundtrack of her parent’s records and singing in the Lutheran church of her hometown, music quickly became an important part of Kelli Scarr’s life. After high school she moved to Boston, Massachusetts to study voice at Berklee, and she soon joined the band Moonraker. Following college, Kelli, along with Moonraker, moved to Brooklyn, NY where they were thrown head first into the ever-expanding indie scene, opening for bands like the Arcade Fire and Broken Social Scene. During an almost accidental bill sharing, Kelli was noticed by local NYC musician, Moby. After striking up a friendship, Kelli and Moby were soon working on music together with Kelli singing the title track of Moby’s haunting and introspective 2009 release, “Wait For Me” (Mute). Kelli also quickly joined Moby’s touring band for a world tour to support the critically acclaimed album. On top of singing and playing keyboards within Moby’s band, Kelli was also asked to open the shows, playing her own music in supporting slots for Moby and winning over crowds all over the world. Amidst all of the transitions and touring, Kelli had begun recording songs on her own. She began simply by recording quiet piano songs at home in between working her hospital day job and in brief moments to herself during her three year old son’s naps. After a long and exhausting two and a half year process Kelli had a record of mainly home recordings, which she named, “Piece”; a name she adopted early on with the advice of friend and filmmaker Matthew Nours, to help her visualize the album as a “snapshot in time” within an otherwise hectic time. In the end “Piece” reflected a large portion of Kelli’s life and those around her. From the sounds of her creaky upright piano and midnight acoustic recordings to the whimpers of her son waking up from a nap in the next room, “Piece” captured an extremely personal journey, providing a photo album's worth of lush images. Review: If you are partial to Sinead O'Conner, then you might take a listen to Kelli Scarr's inaugural release, Piece. Kelli is/has been the female singer for well-know musician, Moby; thus, the eery comparisons to Sinead (“Driftwood”, “Pure Gold” , and “Anything” all resonate with the same haunting tunes). The songs themselves are really quite good, if you don't spend too much time analyzing the lyrics. On the other hand, if you lean toward the sounds of Bjork (or even Enya) you might enjoy “Salt To The Sea” , as well as “Baby Boom” and “The Wonder”. “Brother” seems to be the bridge between the two influences. A glockenspiel? Who uses a glockenspiel? Actually, in some places the use seemed appropriate – even charming; however, at other times, the sound came off as “bright” or “jangly”. My favorite song of the whole lot, though, is the lush, guitar-driven, latin-infused “So Long”. Even though the lyrics seem to be a tad repetitive, the almost-classical guitar playing more than compensates. (If I didn't know better, I would swear that Carlos Santana was playing lead on this song). Speaking of repetitive, “Break Up” takes the prize for lyrics as well as music. I get the impression that this is directed at someone, and I hope he/she got the message. Country music fans will recognize the steel guitar on “Come Back To Me”, but the twangy singing and guitar seem contrived. Overall, this freshman album shows promise with respect the Kelli Scarr's songwriting skills, as well as her piano playing, guitar playing and singing. Reviewed by Steven “Nick” Nickelson

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Compiled by the WYCE Journalism Club

The opinions expressed in these reviews are those of the individual volunteers that submitted the article and do not necessarily reflect the views of WYCE or GRCMC; nor its staff, donors, or affiliates.