EP review by firstname.lastname@example.org
It is somewhat fitting that this Albany-based acoustic artist has the word "strum" in her surname, although much of her new EP is picked acoustic guitar as opposed to the more routine (and generally more boring) strummed style. Zan Strumfeld's 'Someone New' keeps things stripped-down; it doesn't try and bolster the songs with strings or layered vocals, it lets them stand on their own two feet. This surely shows that Strumfeld has a confidence in what she does, and she's right to. The closest we get to the regular strummed, folky acoustics are on 'Keep On Lovin' You' and 'Carry On' but both work well as all of the music on this EP is totally honest. There's nothing contrived at all about Zan Strumfeld.
The fingerpicking style suits best though, and highlights are 'The Moment of Clarity Before Bed' and the almost bluesy title-track. Where backing vocals are used, it's on the EP's most tender song 'I Don't Want To be Nice', and they're a welcome addition, taking nothing away from the appealing bare-bones style she's mastered here. The songs shouldn't overshadow her voice as this is also a fundamental part of what makes the EP work, the most obvious example being 'Ghosts Pt. III'. As we repeatedly point out; there's a world of acoustic music out there, and it's nice to find someone like Zan Strumfeld who doesn't appear to be following styles, preferring to create her own; it's an approach that's served her well.
Zan Strumfeld's website
Stream or buy the EP
Catch her live:
May 31 ArtCentric Gallery @ Troy Night Out, Troy, NY
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