Summer at Shatter Creek's eponymous debut is the unveiling of singer/songwriter Craig Michael Gurwich, a multi-instrumentalist with a penchant for sullen folk-pop. As the sole official member, his music is deeply personal and relies on an array of layered, delicately played instruments. Heavily reminiscent of the British chamber pop scene, Summer at Shatter Creek has a distinctly sad sound. But repeat listens reveal Gurwich's subtle wit, as he often points out the tiny absurdities within his depressing situations. While these observations don't always balance out the melancholy mood, a few songs do so by switching genres. "Thief" builds into a tense psych-folk rocker, complete with a freak-out guitar solo; the satirical "My Neighbor's Having a Seizure" is a lush pop song that recalls Grandaddy; and "Driving Through Texas" is a gentle country-rock ballad that builds to a spacey dream pop ending. Gurwich's detriment is the way he switches from genuine emotion to sarcasm, which blurs the line between heartbreaking and hilarious at odd moments. But in the end, Summer at Shatter Creek is an intimate and engaging introduction to Gurwich's fragile psyche and quirky outlook. Bradley Torreano, Rovi
- Dream Pop, Chamber Pop, Indie Pop
- January 28, 2003
- Summer at Shatter Creek
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