Solving My Own Puzzles

Origami Ghosts

Hand To Mouth Media, 2007

REVIEW BY: Vish Iyer


Hailing from Seattle, Origami Ghosts -- primarily a band of singer-songwriter/guitarist John Paul Scesniak -- doesn’t have the sound stereotypically associated with bands from this revered city of rock. It throws the flannel, the hair and, most importantly, the youth angst and thoughts of gloom and doom into a coffin and buries it deep into the ground. This is an untroubled act that makes honest folk music with a lot of heart and soul.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The music is fully acoustic, dreamy, laid-back and very ‘60s folk, with a warm-hearted tree-hugging hippie attitude. Scesniak writes down-to-earth and pretty tunes; his words are poetic, with plenty of references to the simple things like trees, clouds and everything else that a peace-loving, Whole Foods-frequenting, Yoga-practicing vegan would find as sources of inspiration.

Scesniak’s sleepy vocals are almost as tender and sensitive as his words. The harmony on “Clouds In The Sky” when he sings “We look down like clouds in the sky” as he elegantly describes his elevated mood with his lover has the kind of serenity that best expresses the feelings his words are trying to convey. On “First Time Talking To Myself,” Scesniak turns the anguish of loneliness and the feeling of being estranged, into calm melancholia and self questioning, as he asks himself, “Is this world something you’ve forgotten? Is this world something you’ve ignored?” with a healing tone rather than with a self-poking frustration.

Origami Ghosts’ brand of acoustic music is almost reminiscent of very early REM in that it is simple and minimal, but the tunes are elegantly crafted. The cello and the hammered dulcimer, which are as important as Scesniak’s voice or words, give the songs that balance of wistfulness and allure that makes his words and his singing even more fascinating.

The standouts are plenty and this album’s got a lot of pleasant surprises, but “Clouds Look Down,” “Pendulum” and “Using Words To Describe The Ocean” are near-perfect. Solving My Own Puzzles is a great debut record by an incredible band that every fan of folk music should know.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2007 Vish Iyer and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Hand To Mouth Media, and is used for informational purposes only.