Kelley Stoltz - Double Exposure LP
Third Man Records
After over a decade of making music, and being let go by longtime label Sub Pop, Kelley Stoltz's seventh album Double Exposure is the most straightforward of his career. Stripping away a bunch of the Baroque psych pop touches that colored past efforts, and focusing both the music and the melodies on the basics and essentials, Stoltz and mixer Mikey Young of Eddy Current Suppression Ring get a rich and alive sound. Songs like the rollicking "Kim Chee Taco Man" and "Storms" jump right out of the speakers and into your brain; the quieter songs like "Marcy" and "It's Summertime Again," the lugubrious ballad that ends the album on a decidedly blue note, have an easygoing charm, and album highlight "Are You My Love" has enough energy and verve to get you up off your couch and jumping around the room like a nut. His more hi-hi than usual production work is reliably spot-on and the process of simplifying his approach brings out the strength of his melodies and hooks. Stoltz still makes sure to add plenty of weird textures to the songs to keep things interesting, with lots of variation in instrumentation and use of effects. And there are a couple songs that really stretch out and get hypnotically psychedelic ("Inside My Head") and just plain hypnotic ("Still Feel"); both giving a nice mid-album contrast to the short, snappy pop songs that surround them. Along with being the most accessible and traditional of Stoltz's albums, Double Exposure turns out to be one of the best.