May262010

Record #324: Uncle Skeleton’s ‘Warm Under the Covers’

Warm Under the Covers is the forthcoming record from Nashville’s own Uncle Skeleton, the mostly instrumental, partially electronic, exquisitely intricate pop project of Ross Wariner. I listened to the remixed version of last year’s Pancho Chumley about 240 records back, as well. Wariner is, at least for the time being, a Nashvillian, and he was once a founding member of the local ensemble KinderCastle. Since the disbanding of KinderCastle, Wariner has proven multiple times to be a remarkably gifted and flexible composer and performer. (Fans of KinderCastle: “Ode to Estes” revisits the KC style quite effectively.)

From the playful, music-box-like plinking of “Smaltilder” to jazz-, swing- and reggae-inflected elements all throughout the record, Wariner proves — even more so than with Pancho Chumley — to be incredibly gifted at piecing together subtle, beautifully executed parts (strings and keys more than anything else) that compliment one another rather than clashing. Trust me; that’s a difficult skill. Jeff Lynne and a few others could do it, but typically, tunes featuring this many ambitious parts tend to sound like a jumbled mess. Wariner utilized the talents of many local players in putting this one together, and they all shine. It’s tight, and it’s riddled with chop-laden performances and sweet, moving melodies. Recommended for fans of ’60s baroque pop (Beach Boys), symphonic classic rock and prog (ELO, King Crimson) and synth pop (from Devo to MGMT). Warm Under the Covers' release will be Saturday as part of Michael Eades' Moustache May celebration at Mercy Lounge. Mr. Eades — whose YK Records is releasing the album — heartily recommends holding out for the vinyl, which will be ready in a couple of weeks.

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