Ex-[a]Guided By Voices[/a] shaker [a]Tobin Sprout[/a], who wants to take us on a brief fell-run through the bleak district of his mind...
It seems that some people were born to lose, only to succeed in selling their story to whoever’s listening. And so it is, with ex-[a]Guided By Voices[/a] shaker [a]Tobin Sprout[/a], who wants to take us on a brief fell-run through the bleak district of his mind. Perhaps, very childishly, his name doesn’t add much gravitas to mini-LP ‘Wax Nails”s sincere attempt at ragged barren-pop frailty but it does, at least, offer some light relief from this shaky ride to his sensitive side.
As with all multi-instrumentalists on a mission, Sprout’s desire to distance himself from the zeitgeist is paramount. He is, instead, preoccupied with the notions of honesty and integrity, but settles, ultimately, for old rope which is both spirited and lachrymose in equal measure.
Opener ‘Get Your Calcium’ is a pretty nifty keyboard extravagance with Tobe’s plaintive, ’60s-frozen vocal pleas adding a touch of homegrown abject sadness; and the Nick Drake-like stripped acoustics of ‘Seed’ ably suits Sprout’s vulnerable disposition. Elsewhere, he warbles to gentle, understated pop laments with undercurrents of folk ballad and ’80s nostalgia that all threaten to collapse at the softest of breezes.
Suffice to say, a few moments of embittered spite might have lifted ‘Wax Nails’ out of its self-imposed doldrums and a little more into the heart: the place where, you assume, Sprout intended it to sit.