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Schoolcraft – Rushing Through the Sky
CD Reviews
Written by Angela Infernale   
Wednesday, 05 December 2012
Schoolcraft - CD Review
Rushing Through the Sky
Schoolcraft - Rushing Through the Sky
 

CD Info

2012

Arcane Records / Canada
8 Tracks

English Lyrics


Some of you may know Canadian singer/songwriter Lindsay Schoolcraft from her band Mary and the Black Lamb, or from her affiliation with the singer-collective Eve's Apple. SCHOOLCRAFT, her solo project, has been around for about 1.5 years now and is dominated by the piano, but not limited to it. Mary and the Black Lamb's drummer Scott Brindley has joined Schoolcraft in the studio and on stage as well. The first Schoolcraft release, the "Your Mind" single (digital release), came quite early on in the project's existence. After that, they retired to the writing desk and the studio. Now they are back, with Rushing through the Sky, the first EP. And it comes with notable guest musicians. Kitty Thompson from the visually and acoustically virtuoso Johnny Hollow did all the cello parts, and additional arrangements were provided by Daedalus, of Daedalean Complex out of Montreal.

Track List:
1. Into the Night
2. Your Mind
3. December Rain
4. Your Forever
5. Masquerade
6. Darkness Falls
7. December Rain (instrumental)
8. Where You Go (hidden track)

"Into the Night" is the first song of the EP, and its very beginning already sets the stage for the general theme of the record. The piano intro portrays the central element of Schoolcraft's music: melancholic yet fervent melodies, accompanied by tender, comforting vocals. The song also nicely showcases the orchestral arrangements that play a key role on this EP, along with the occasional electronic influence. Multi-layered vocal tracks, as well as the interaction between the various instruments, give certain passages more depth and richness of sound.

"Your Mind", the second track, starts out quieter than the first one, and maintains this calmer ring throughout the song. It cuts out the drums and electronic elements, and exchanges them for the cello, which makes its first appearance in this song. The vocals take on a lower pitch that gives them an even more soothing quality. Where "Into the Night" was rhythmic and varying, "You Mind" is more homogeneous and melodic, making it perfect for a quiet evening with a cup of tea or hot chocolate.

"December Rain", after starting out slow, picks up the pace after the intro, bringing back the drums the song before did not feature. It stays a comparably quiet number still, whose core element is a memorable chorus. Vocally, Schoolcraft goes back to the higher tones that go nicely with the orchestral arrangements. A sweet detail in this track is the piano line, that sometimes reminds of raindrops tapping against the window, referencing back to the general theme of the song.

"Masquerade", the fifth track, is easily the most agile and ingenious song on this EP. Piano, drums, and orchestral arrangements come together to create a varied composition that has a circus ring to it, fitting the title perfectly. The vocals present a contrast to the rest of the songs, sounding cheerful despite the lyrics that are still on the darker side of the scale. With 3:21 minutes, this song is the shortest of them all, but it definitely makes you wish it was longer. Putting it on repeat will help that.

The instrumental version of "December Rain" should be listened to until the end, not just because the absence of vocals makes new nuances of the music apparent that you have not noticed before, but also because it fades right into a hidden track: "Where You Go", a song that was also featured on the "Your Mind" single. As one of the very early works of Schoolcraft, it differs from the rest of the EP in style. It is heavy on electronic arrangements, and its vocals sound mysterious and even slightly sinister at times. If you are familiar with the early work of Evanescence (the Origin album), you will definitely hear the influence in this song.

Overall, this EP of mostly ballads is the perfect background music for a quiet Sunday afternoon in fall, when you are snug under a warm blanket as the autumn leaves are Rushing through the Sky outside. For an 8-track CD, it makes sense to give one point for each song, one for overall impression, and one for artwork as well. The latter should not be forgotten, as it is a central part of a musician's vision. In this case, Schoolcraft's Eve's Apple-sister Gogo Melone did an amazing job capturing the mood and turning it into visual images. There is absolutely no question whether the artwork earns its point, and neither about the overall performance. Of the songs, all but "Darkness Falls", which interrupted the nice flow of the songs somewhat, shall have their point, amounting to 9 out of 10 points in total. A well deserved result.

Rating: 9 / 10

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Schoolcraft

Photo: Angela with Lindsay at Metal Female Voices Festival X - Wieze Belgium 2012

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