Eric Schackne - Hammers & Strings EP
Record Label: Unsigned
Release Date: 27 March 2012
It's obviously not easy to write your own original music. So understandably, a lot of independent artists base their music on more popular artists. I don't know about you, but I prefer artists who instead of directly latching on the exact style of another artist they instead try to mix styles together and come up with one of their own. In his Hammers & Strings EP, this is what Eric Schackne attempts, and while short, it's a good glimpse into Schackne's style and worth a quick listen.
Album opener "Well-Dressed Future" is a stripped-down tune with only Schackne's vocals and a piano. It's not all that polished vocally, but maybe that's something Schackne's trying to get across; he's not going for a clean, pop sound the likes of which are all over Youtube or the radio but a more natural one. The content of the song is likewise honest, heartfelt, and personal. Hammers & Strings isn't an acoustic piano record though. Standouts "This Classic Romance" and "Loud and Clear" come with a stronger piano rock vibe, reminiscent of said genre's staples Relient K or Jack's Mannequin, and even having slight vocal similarities with Panic! at the Disco. What's noticeable about Schackne is that his vocal style is quieter and slower, perhaps in an attempt to give off a more intimate approach. Though it sacrifices the catchiness and entertainment value the likes of which fans of the genre are more accustomed to, in its own way it works. The rest of the EP carries on the same intimate sound as well. However, the crutch in such a choice is that it doesn't have much lasting value. The songs are nice to listen to and a few of them are easy to appreciate and absorb, but perhaps with the exception of "Loud and Clear" and "Well-Dressed Future" none really stick with you for a long time. And while the lyrics aren't all generic and predictable, they aren't all exciting or innovative.
Schackne's music, as far as this EP is concerned at least, isn't the type to have you singing along at the top of your lungs or to have hooks or lines that glue into your mind for weeks. It's more of the type that one quietly listens to, tapping one's foot or nodding one's head occasionally. While other catchier examples of piano rock are more fun to listen to, have a longer lasting value, and are personally the kind I enjoy the most, it's hard not to see the effort Schackne poured in or to simply appreciate the music he put out in this record. It's an honest effort and while not extremely groundbreaking or new, it is still different and enjoyable enough to make it worth taking some time out for and listening to.