The Austin Chronicle

SXSW 2012 Records

Reviewed by James Renovitch, March 16, 2012, Music


Out in the Light (TBD Records)

Van Pierszalowski's previous efforts with Port O'Brien tended toward the simple and folksy, but a beefed-up backing band (from Norway, no less) lends his new project Waters a filled-out and fuzzed-out bravado. The frontman's voice is largely clear and earnest with grit where necessary and a dash of Neil Young's nasal falsetto, the kind of delivery just begging for a listener's impassioned sing-along. When the lyrics aren't as effective as they are on "Out of the Light," it's hard to get behind missteps like "Back to You," and while rockers like openers "For the One" and "O Holy Break of Day" land solid Band of Horses punches, not even John Congleton's rhythm-heavy production can wake up some of the album's sleepier moments ("Take Me Out to the Coast," "If I Run"). "Mickey Mantle" leaves a pleasant aftertaste and helps listeners forget the few tracks that are forgettable. (Wed., 9:20pm, Red 7; Fri., 9pm, the Studio by HGTV)


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