Being a reviewer is challenging when something out of your normal sphere of listening comes along. That's how it was with me when I was sent Stephanie Schneiderman's Rubber Teardrop album. At first I was tempted to write it off as enjoyable bakground music and really not much else but then I felt obligated to pay more attention.
Rubber Teardrop opening with a song called "Hush" doesn't exactly slap me in the face however the electronica made me prick up my ears and realize I should pay a little more attention to the album. There's an etheral folkiness to Scheiderman's vocals. It's not a challenge to imagine her fronting The Corrs or being a stand-in for Suzanne Vega. "Riverstone" highlights the crossing of the electronic beat with straight up folk music and conveys a shoegazery tone over the blips. As the title track suggests by its name alone, it's melancholic but it's bounced back by a sweet poppiness. Often throughout the album there's a smooth laidbackness between the beats and the slightly buried vocals seem to beg to be in the foreground. The combining of styles is a feature that runs throughout the album and "Avalon" is a stirred up and stewed mixture of soul and trip-hop sifted through electronic beats. Just when you've things all sorted the contradictory "I am what I am not" states this a folk singer.
While this album didn't punch me in the face, it's a slow-burner and often that's better anyway. At the moment due to the weather , I'd rather have a warm flame of any kind than be battered around. Time to stoke up the fire.