Alternative music reviews

October 3, 2005

The Weightless EP by Stillman

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When Chaz Craik nearly grasped success with Britpop band Cab only to suffer disappointment as the Britpop bubble burst, Craik spent a long time on the fringes of commercial acceptance. His solo project Stillman is another throw of the dice to gain some attention. Over the course of this wholly impressive E.P. Craik has managed to craft solid and concise acoustic driven songs which are rich in texture, showing an understanding of how to pull off this singer-songwriter lark. Highly professional sounding production glosses these 5 tracks which is impressive in that Craik worked on his compositions using an old computer and some guitars lying around. When you consider so many artists record their music in what sounds like a disused garage with tinny and harsh production values, ‘The Weightless E.P.’ is of good sound quality. Always a welcome sign for this type of music – lush, dreamy Elliot Smith influenced gentle folk-pop. Craik sound like a more demure Grant Nicholas from Feeder, so imagine Feeder’s quieter moments for an idea how Stillman sounds. That’s not to say Stillman can be pigeon-holed into one category, as the likes of ‘Weightless’ and ‘The Worst Is Over’ are achingly slow and beautiful with introspective lyrics. ‘The Worst Is Over’ details insecurities with lines such as “Stay home tonight, shut the world outside, it’ll suck you dry, it’s over now” and title track ‘Weightless’ goes into metaphors to express feelings – “Here we are weightless, drifting free, numb and memoryless”. To add a little assortment, ‘Born For Show’ is more uptempo with jangly guitars and more pop feel. This leaves the ‘Foreword’ and ‘Afterworld’ which bookend the E.P., the former a minute long introduction to the record and the latter a 3 minute swirling mostly instrumental piece which goes for studied atmosphere rather than songwriting kudos. There is plenty to recommend with Stillman and it’s good to hear acoustic and lush pop that usually turns out to be dull and forgettable ditchwater in the wrong hands to be pulled off successfully here.

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Review by Nick Collings

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