I must say that ‘Dark Corners‘, the latest album to come from the self-purported Americana/Goth Country artist It’s Just Craig, AKA Craig Helmreich certainly has a bit of strange throughout it. There’s just always a hint of something off-kilter that strikes me in the listening of it. That being said, calling yourself an Americana/Goth Country artist is also fairly off the beaten path.
I typically applaud artistic efforts that stray from the status quo, and I will do the same thing here, but I’m not quite sure just what ‘Dark Corners‘ truly is. I understand that it is a concept album. It follows the story of a ship captain who ends up stranded in view of his home and his love. There is certainly room in a story like this for some dark, “goth”-sounding pieces. And hell, a country album about love and loss? I think that would be easy enough to do. I’m not sure I get much of the Americana in the project though.
But hey, Goth Country is not a new thing by any stretch. And the way in which this album kicks off with the creepiest of sour pianos really sells the idea to the audience. The jump to ‘Go‘ from the opening track is rather jarring. But I was unsure if it was a purposefully atmospheric jarring for the audience, or if it was just the order of songs, and it happened to be too incongruous.
And while I often find myself harping on about too many vocal effects, and an incredible inability to understand lyrics because of the new “shoegaze” manner of some many “indie” groups…I have to say that I think Craig Helmreich could use maybe just a little bit of a boost in the mix with regards to effect. Especially since the whole album, for the most part, is about an oceanic journey. Why would you want dry vocals? I have to respect what I understand to be the reason for this though. ‘Dark Corners‘ is predominantly recorded on tape, and with real instruments (not necessarily a typical production today). However, if you’re going to add effect to some vocals, but leave wholly dry others…it can make for an uncomfortable experience. Which may very well be the point.
Regardless, this truly interesting concept album is certainly worth the listen to discover just what an Americana/Country Goth sound is like. And, of course, to hear the secret that Craig wants to share with his attentive listeners. A secret that might come in the form of one of the best tracks of the album. I think that might be because of the relatably personal content of the secret he shares.
HERE‘s just a little taste from the album to entice you to order the whole dish. And if you want to learn more about this truly inventive and interesting artist, and his impressive pedigree then just click right over HERE. He might just be Craig, but that doesn’t mean he’s not worth your time.