Archer Prewitt: White Sky
BARE TREES JUST don't move most rock songwriters the way long, hot nights do, but there are some that prefer a fading summer to one in full swing. So it is with Archer Prewitt, late of Chicago bands the Sea and Cake and the Coctails. The sleeve of his new White Sky is painted in pale jewel tones well suited to languishing oaks and maples, and his titles include "Summer's End" and "Final Season." His muted orchestral arrangements maintain the autumnal mood, lending depth to Prewitt's studied art-pop balladeer moves.
Then again, maybe Prewitt could use some sun. In a few places, the arrangements are so studied they're enervated. "Shake" does nothing of the sort, while the instrumental title track is a lonely horn chart in search of the Steely Dan song that ditched it. But the horns, strings, and occasional Neil Young-style freak-out guitar lines usually bolster Prewitt's frail, slightly mannered vocals in just the right places. And the barely adorned "Last Summer Days" (with singer-songwriter Edith Frost's guest harmony vocals) and "I'll Be Waiting," with their plaintive folkish melodies and discreetly pining lyrics, provide a sweet soundtrack for watching dead leaves blow around outside your window.
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