Though his name might be unfamiliar to all but the most dedicated indie rock geeks, Ken Stringfellow
has been flirting with stardom for over a decade, first as one-half of the Posies
, then as a member of Big Star
, a sideman with R.E.M.
, and a producer for indie upstarts like Damien Jurado
. With the Posies
on temporary hiatus, Stringfellow
went into the studio in the summer of 2000 with legendary producer Mitch Easter
, and the result is an indie pop album with classic sound that falls somewhere between Matthew Sweet
and Elliott Smith
. The first thing you notice about Touch is that the devil lies in the details: Whether it's the pedal steel guitar that wails below the Eagles
-style country-rock of "Down Like Me" or the retro organ that lends a Doors
-like trippiness to "Spanish Waltz," Stringfellow
makes all the little things count. Of course, the polished pop songcraft of songs like "This One's On You" and "Sparrow" proves that the singer/songwriter's sound would likely pack just as much punch even if he were rockin' it folkie style, with just an acoustic guitar and his elastic voice. But with Easter
's nimble touch behind the boards, you'll be glad he didn't.