Rolling in quiet and flowing, Red Sweater Lullaby’s newest release “Nothing Can Fix Anything” is an exercise in acoustic melodies that allows whoever hears it to escape into the place of harmony it represents.
RSL is a musical entity created by Kristopher Rochelle, drummer for the talk music group Listener. Within RSL Rochelle takes the elements of Listener’s music that have to do more with relaxed, breathing musicality and translates it into this one-man-band, making music that has a great deal to do with simple, yet consistently powerful, depictions of real life and subsequent stories (“Angel,” “I Never Did Tell You Enough,” “Gothenburg”).
These songs are an excellent representation of this writing style. Lines of acoustic melody and smart-hit drumming make the words, acutely crafted and honestly sung, the completion of the full package that is a good song. Cuts like “Nothing Can Fix Anything” or the acoustic version of “Mercury” exhibit Rochelle’s voice paired with minimal instrumentation. It is interesting then that the listener can take in a full sound, something difficult to find when searching for solid acoustic songs. This creates a diversity to Rochelle’s writing and performance, making his repertoire of sound something to be spoken of and shared.
“Gothenburg” is representative of the flip side to this musical equation: while “Nothing…” and songs like it submit voice and guitar with beauty in the simplicity of its playing and recording, this song is equally as beautiful with multiple vocal layerings, powerful stereo sound recording, and a diversity of parts composing the track. This is also displayed in “Widower,” though to a more extreme degree, where flanger-like tones and brass inhabit the space of the recording.
My friends and myself saw Rochelle as Red Sweater Lullaby earlier this year on tour with Levi the Poet. The were playing an art gallery in Midland, Levi speaking poems from his recent “Correspondence (A Fiction)” and RSL from his last three works. It was a wonderful night, especially to see two individuals myself and my community have looked up to for so long. Neither disappointed. I can say for certain that Kris is as nice in person as he sounds on the record, and more than musically adept. This latest EP shows his progression and his songwriting chops, letting all listeners know that his voice is one deserving to be heard.
“Nothing Can Fix Anything” is up for purchase with money (not barter or Bitcoin) on Bandcamp.