WHERE: Acadia CafÃ©, 329 Cedar Ave. S
WHEN: Oct. 9
COST: Free âÄì Zombie Pub Crawl Show
Jeff Noller has spent the last two years building his home studio.
With a total of four years of playing together, he and band member Vonnie Kyle are in the process of releasing their third double-disk LP, âÄúThe Perfect Shade of Green.âÄú
The duo makes up the Minneapolis folk-rock band Skittish. As their name implies, the two are nervous and reticent, but well aware of it.
âÄúIâÄôm nervous around other people,âÄú Noller said. âÄúI feel like IâÄôm more at home with animals. Everytime you watch a nature show, they always say that animals are a little skittish. IâÄôm like, âÄòYeah, I agree with those animals, theyâÄôve got the right idea.âÄôâÄù
While their personal interactions are apprehensive, their music is anything but. Disc one of âÄúThe Perfect Shade of GreenâÄù is all soaring vocals and interweaving harmonies. Kyle and NollerâÄôs voices mesh well over the instrumentation. Strong major key melodies in songs like âÄúLiving AtopâÄù and âÄúSinging the ObitsâÄù keep the album grounded and pleasing without being boring. ItâÄôs an entertaining indie-folk-rock romp.
Disc two is much more experimental, but wholly listenable.
âÄúThe original plan was to just have the one, main rock album. But after a number of things it seemed necessary to release two,âÄù Noller said. âÄúThe first album is much more male, modern and city-centered, whereas the second is more female, folky, nature. ItâÄôs just like two different worlds IâÄôve lived in.âÄù
Kyle gets a chance to really unleash her vocal talents on disc two. Her voice is a dynamic counterpoint to NollerâÄôs nasal sound. Tracks like âÄúLiving AmongstâÄù and âÄúLittle ThingsâÄù showcase the debate between their two competing sounds. ItâÄôs infectious and it works.
Double-disc albums are a dangerous venture because of the limited return based on twice as much work, but the duo seems unfazed.
âÄúItâÄôs ludicrous, a stupid thing to do, but itâÄôs just a âÄò[expletive] youâÄô to whatâÄôs going on these days,âÄù Noller said. âÄúI just wanted to do what I wanted to do.âÄù
âÄúIf you cram everything on one album, it just hops from one genre to another and it seemed like a really cool idea to say that we have one album thatâÄôs rocking and this other that is experimental folk, which is kind of where our heart is,âÄù Kyle said.
The double disc does at times start to bore. Songs like âÄúThrough the WoodsâÄù (disc one) or âÄúDueâÄù (disc two) lack some of the intensity of the other songs. For the most part, though, Skittish has released a double album filled with energetic and engaging songs.
For being self-taught, NollerâÄôs production skills are excellent.
âÄúI would just sit in my room, reading the Internet, figuring out how to do things,âÄù he said.
The sound quality is on par with that of any large independent label. With many additional instruments required to perform the albumâÄôs tracks, Skittish is bringing in new performers to play during live shows. The duo may eventually evolve into a full band with an eccentric live show.
Performing is a way for Skittish to shed their nervous exterior.
âÄúA different side comes out when we perform,âÄù Noller said, âÄúI just feel like a completely different person.âÄù
That will likely become normal in time, as this album should secure them many more performances.