Paul Kloschinsky’s career as an indie singer/songwriter has produced four well-received and finely crafted works. His latest release, Nobody Knows, doesn’t take any unexpected turns, per se, but it accurately reflects Kloschinsky’s growing mastery. The ten songs here primarily confine themselves to folk posturing, but he’s adept enough as an arranger and musician to sprinkle unexpected musical delights throughout the running order. The production reflects his independent status – sometimes his vocals are buried a little too far in the mix, but these unintended effects never diminish the material. Some of the album is infused with unlikely rock and roll attitude but, again, he never ventures too far afield of his core strengths – minimalism and absolute sincerity.
Much of the album focuses on romantic relationships and the opener is no exception. “Fallin’ for You” has a slightly strident rock edge, thanks in no small way to assertive drumming. The tempo has an equally jagged edge and nicely embodies the lyrics. The lyrical content affords listeners a compelling first glimpse, particularly for novice listeners, into Kloschinsky’s talents for crafting narratives. Like many songwriters in his school, Kloschinsky’s primary concerns as a lyricist seem to fall in the area of creating credible characters and, most importantly, voices that a wide gamut of listeners can relate to. The album’s title track is much moodier in comparison, but Kloschinsky invests the performance with a fair division between energy and atmospherics. The subject matter isn’t particularly revelatory, but it doesn’t need to be when he’s able, clearly, to fill the songwriting with his own unique voice and humor.
“I Long for You” demonstrates Kloschinsky’s wont for challenging listener’s expectations. The first quarter of the album doesn’t prepare you for a turn into classically influenced pop with an acoustic guitar at its heart, but to his credit, Kloschinsky makes it worth without a hiccup. The fusion of these seemingly disparate elements results in a more compelling experience for fans. “Ravish Me” has a sharp bounce and a pleasingly rolling quality that kicks in on the first note and rarely relents. He matches the arrangement’s energy with an equally inspired performance. “Sing for the Silence” is another wildcard in the album’s track listing. There’s an understated Indian influence weaving through the song and his vocal strikes an interesting juxtaposition with its sleepy, even slurry, intonation. He hits a different pose on “Can’t Forget About You” with its assortment of pop rock profiles filtered through an acoustic prism. “Tell Everybody”, the album’s penultimate song, has a similar acoustic verve, but a much straighter and conventional arrangement. It’s one of the highpoints on the album’s second half.
Nobody Knows closes with “Xmas Time Is Near”, probably Kloschinsky’s most layered lyrical invention on the album. It ends the release on the principles beginning it – an emphasis on storytelling, but with the needed brevity for a folk song. He’s an increasingly masterful writer able to communicate much about situation and character with few words. Nobody Knows is a varied work – there are important, deep songs here and finely crafted efforts in a much more commercial vein. It scores big as one of the year’s best indie releases.
9 out of 10 stars.