From indie records to major-label releases, lots of new music is made in bedrooms. But not much of it actually sounds like bedroom music anymore. Remember the enigmatic personage of FM Cornog assembling pop furnishings in his East River Pipe bedroom? Fumbling his keyboard presets, drum machines, and narrow-range vocals into a duct-taped SM-58?
On Summersky, South Shore singer-songwriter Robert Schipul is bringing the mid-fi back. With syncopated handclaps and ambling sub-bass, "Waiting for Snow" sounds much more like a Babyface demo than a cheeky indie attempt to do dance pop. No one ever really wants to admit that '90s adult-contemporary soul was cool, but Schipul sells it here on Summersky's best track. The string-section and Wurlitzer-electric-piano sounds on "How Could You Possibly Understand" don't try too hard to be real, thus making a comfy home for a good melody.
Sometimes not having a producer can be a very good thing. But not all the posters on this bedroom's walls are tasteful. Another of Schipul's best songs, "Change from the Offering Plate," is nearly ruined by the addition of Chuck E. Cheese levels of clown-balloon-induced Auto-Tune. Maybe a little restraint on playing with the buttons could be a good thing.