Review: Rocky Votolato

Rocky Votolato
““Suicide Medicine””
(Second Nature Recordings)

Well, now that Elliott Smith has committed suicide, we need to crown the new king of the American campfire soloists.  One thing about Elliott Smith was that you always knew the guy was depressed, but this never brought the listener down and actually made the listener feel like Elliott understood them.  It’s kind of like how most guys can identify with Holden Caulfield for reasons that they can’t understand.

Rocky gets out his acoustic guitar and coos soft lonely melodies, literally.  What’’s even more exciting is that this album was produced and played on (guitar, bass, vocals, organ, and piano, among others) by Chris Walla of Death Cab For Cutie and played on by Casey Fobert (drums, etc.) of Seldom and formerly of Pedro The Lion.  By the third time in a row that this album was playing in my car I was pathetically trying to sing along with every track while holding back the tears.

I really like “Suicide Medecine” (yes with an e for medicine, which I still can’t figure out) because the chorus is so powerful and the song is about learning how to turn the brain off and just letting go; letting go of the brain’s failures and reservations because perceptions are a bitch.  Let’s just say that Dashboard Confessionals could learn a lot about what a dashboard confessional is from old Rocky.  Thank you, can I have another.