Pop Culture Press Review

Come Back Down – Aaron Scholz

Come Back Down readily confirms the promise made on Madison, Wisconsin singer Aaron Scholz’s 2000 debut Perfect Child: That he’s a songwriting force of the first class. There are echoes of at least a decade’s worth of alt-country roads in Scholz’s downhome sound, most notably his penchant for the enchanting simplicity inherent in early Uncle Tupelo recordings (Scholz’s plantive midwestern vocals bear some similarity to Jar Farrar).

Yet there are traces of Scholz’s power-pop past (as a member of the Ultramaroons), too, as in “Too High,” a plea for romantic harmony. Often employing little more than a strummed acoustic guitar and a dollop or pedal steel (and maybe a harmonica or a brushed drumbeat), Scholz’s songs traverse a wide spectrum of psychological terrain, from dean-end, small town ennui, to mortality, to a kind of zen-like search for meaning. Two song stand out an an album full of standouts: “Learn to Crawl,” which stakes out a near Crazy Horse-like frenzy, piling verse upon scarifying verse detailing a deadly dance with substance abuse; and “Old Road,” a magnetically rendered meditation on the ravages of our time.

–Luke Torn

Pop Culture Press

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