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Robert Skoro | These Things Could Be Ours (Yep Roc)
A child of the Minneapolis music scene, Skoro has been compared to the likes of The Shins, M.Ward and Wilco's Jeff Tweedy. Certainly, 'These Things Could Be Ours', his third release in all and first for Yep Roc, is a confident and assured piece of work. The singer's slightly-weathered voice suits these careworn, muscular songs that evolve from simple, singer-songwriterly stuff to faux alt.country within the album's near forty-minute length. Skoro's strength lies not in his versatile writing but in the deceptively simple song constructions that add touches of melodica, Wurlitzer, marimba and upright bass to flesh out the arrangements. But coursing throughout the work is Skoro's love of the riff, which is never very far from the surface. This use of heavy-ish guitar underscores the songs, stopping them from ever straying towards the twee. Slight this stuff ain't.
On seemingly-autobiographical tracks like I Was Blonde At Age Four, Skoro's voice strains to match the emotions inherent in the song. And, as the album progresses, you get the sense that the man the Minneapolis City Pages hailed as Artist Of The Year after his self-released debut, 'Proof', is growing by the minute; this time next year he could be the name on everyone's lips.

John Stacey
April 2006

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