Growing Stone's short self-titled EP Growing Stone promises great things to come from New York's Skylar Sarkis, working in close collaboration with producer Jon Markson.
Many reviewers will dismiss a record for being too all-over-the-place, too-unfocused, too packed-full-of-ideas. While this can be a bad thing, in the case of a sprawling 30-track double-LP, which is already exhausting to get through, I still feel like these listeners are missing the point, overlooking a potentially good thing. A wide range of tones, textures and tempos indicates a musician with ambition and ideas.
Growing Stone's eponymous debut EP is only three short tracks, never repeating itself, moving deftly in and out of styles. Sarkis and Markson have a history together playing punk rock, but Growing Stone finds the pair bringing in dark alt country influences, such as the dearly departed Sparklehorse (R.I.P.). Even before reading the press release, I was jotting down low-key crooners like Crooked Fingers or Tindersticks, with Growing Stone having a similar laidback swagger and lowdown groove.
The difference being, Growing Stone has that same stately serenity as someone like Tom Waits or Leonard Cohen, but Skylar Sarkis is missing the miserablist bone. Here is mellow, pretty, emotive folk-ish rock that is actually uplifting at the same time. On opener and closer "Fly Blood and Lilacs" and "There's Always A Block In My Mind," the duo, joined by drums and trumpets, manages to be both relaxed and relaxing, while still sounding exciting! It's the sound of confidently rushing into the future, while keeping an eye on the rearview.
Fans of the downbeat Americana of the TV series True Detective, either season, will especially appreciate the last track "There's Always A Block In My Mind," which is built around a sedated jazz electric piano. It's an excellent way to end a very promising EP! I eagerly await the debut LP
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