Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Album Review: "Desert Etiquette" by Floating Action

"Desert Etiquette" was released on February 15, 2011 on
Park The Van
Seth Kauffman is the Black Mountain, NC based songwriter behind Floating Action, and I mean that in every aspect of it.  Kauffman writes, produces, and plays nearly every instrument on the new album "Desert Etiquette", and with all of the entrancing sounds that he produces that should be considered quite the feat.  Kauffman creates an incredible blend of sounds on this record that's filled with reverberated vocals and hypnotic guitar lines that draw you deeper and deeper into this world that Kauffman brilliantly orchestrates.

"Desert Etiquette" is unique in the sense that while it does feature a vast amount of experimentation from Kauffman with the sounds he produces, it never strays too far from a rootsy sound.  This juxtaposition of two different sounds works perfectly on "Desert Etiquette", it brings the listener a calm and soothing feeling while allowing them to absorb everything going on in the music pretty easily, because there's certainly a lot.  Kauffman has layered the album excellently, whether it be through the harmonizing vocals, or the plethora of jaunting rhythms found beneath it all.

Kauffman gets intelligent with his lyrics as well, take the song "Robspierre" for example, citing the French revolutionist.  Kauffman sings out, "When you think that you're a patriot/Someone else thinks that you're Robspierre"; using comparisons like this make Kauffman stick out amongst the grain considering it would be way too easy to just write simple heart-breaking melodies that are tinged with sappiness and longing, instead Kauffman takes the intelligent route with it and it pays off.  The best part about "Desert Etiquette" is how diverse it really is in terms of its songs.  Some of the tracks like "Modern Gunslinger" and "Eye Of A Needle" are driving pop songs capable of getting your head bobbing whilst songs like "The Balance" slow it down a bit more and allow you to just sit back and get lost amongst the dreamy sounds created.

The fact that Kauffman created almost the entirety of this record on his own is really just the cherry on top of the sundae, because he's truly created a great work.  Kauffman doesn't stray from the beaten path on this album, because he's certainly still got the folk/blues base nestled quaintly amongst the spacey-sounds, but instead he floats above it by making a sound that doesn't follow in anyone else's footsteps.

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