While there is a certain joy in discovering edgy music that reimagines the rules, there is another type of joy in discovering music that is new and fresh but sounds deliciously familiar. Scott Krokoff’s latest EP, the adult contemporary Realizations and Declarations, Vol. 2, is a collection of familiar sounds that come off as new and fresh rather than repetitious and stifling.
Hailing from New York, Krokoff is a practising lawyer who has been influenced by a range of talented singers and songwriters from The Beatles to Tom Petty, influences that can be heard throughout the seven tracks. Realizations and Declarations, Vol. 1 was released three years ago and fans have been eagerly anticipating its second volume, set to be released in September of this year.
The songs are all built very similarly, i.e. on an acoustic guitar, drums, and vocals ranging from soothing to energetic. But there are enough differences between each to keep listeners’ attention. Similarly, the tracks are similar enough that this EP could make great background music for a party without interrupting conversations while at the same time being different enough that no one would ask if it is the same one on repeat.
From the opening number “The Right Place” all the way to the closing “Sparrows”, Realizations and Declarations, Vol. 2 would indeed make not just a great backdrop for a get-together, but also a terrific collection of songs in any laid-back situation. The former is a “full” sounding mid-tempo song, well worked, well rounded, all the auditory spaces filled out just enough. It is very familiar-sounding, what with the guitars and drum driving the entire thing and the subtle piano melody weaving in and out.
The uniqueness of this track lies in its country flavour, one that is also found in “Scared Little Boy”, a sad, cello-tinged tune featuring a plucked acoustic guitar giving it a melancholic taste. In contrast, the closing “Sparrows”, much softer as well as slower, is a delicate, uplifting ballad with pop sensibilities; while it is just as full, it comes off as a lot simpler.
The gentle and touching ballad “Because of You” features instrumentation that lulls listeners right into its melody, with warm vocals giving it a certain tinge of folk. The groovy “Walter Mitty” features a harmonica, bass line, organs, and upbeat guitars that give it a country edge very different from “The Right Place” and “Scared Little Boy”. This is perhaps the track in which the contrast of old school sounds with a new arrangement is the most obvious.
Despite its name, “Pissed Off in Paris” is cheerful and almost, dare I say, cute. A couple (or family?) who has meticulously planned a great trip to Paris to see all its beautiful landmarks are left in the cold and rain right from the beginning of their trip, as they become hopelessly lost on their way out of the airport. It is a story bound to make listeners both smile in amusement and cringe with compassion.
In a world of old styles clashing with new fads, the sort of familiarity Scott pulls off will be welcomed by many – they will be left very content. Tracks are available for streaming on SoundCloud. More information about Krokoff and his music is available on his official website.
Pictures provided by Working Brilliantly.
Published first here on Blogcritics.