In terms of closeness and intimacy in music, there’s nothing like getting an acoustic guitar and just play and sing. This is exactly what Saul Conrad does on his new EP, Poison Packets (Cavity Search/Mountain of Leopards), but it involves a little more than being acoustic.
While he is said to be in the vein of Townes Van Zandt and Elliott Smith, I would add the likes of Jeff Tweedy and even Chris Robinson into the equation, as Conrad’s songs are tales that are personal, reflective of his experiences and/or what he wants to have from life. The listener may want to go along that route, or at least to experience life and its experiences in the same way that Conrad conveys it in his music. He balances things between playing rootsy modern folk with doing things country style, as he does in “Whiskey Eggs”, which may make you hoot and hollar until you realize he may be telling you your own life story (or at least a page from your life thus far). What also makes this EP work is the complimentary vocals of Katie Schecter, who catches a lead vocal here and there but it tends to represent (metaphorically) the sensitive side of Conrad’s lyrics while also sharing a love of the daring and the unknown.
It’s an outside experience, or at least Poison Packets will make you want to feel the air of the great outdoors and live life. Period. One of the great things about this EP is that some of these tracks consist of one sole verse, and before it dwells in itself for too long, you’re off into the next story. It’s an experience period, an EP of ten tracks that could easily be the loose change in your pocket that looks to be useful, and each coin is ready to be deposited in the machine of your choice. You just have to choose wisely to get from point A to point B, and these songs could lead the way towards the promised land. Or the preferred vending machine.