The World is Just a Shape to Fill the Night
(Alternative Distribution Alliance)
The Dutchess and the Duke may have disbanded only late last year, but Jesse Lortz has not been resting on his heels. Instead he holed up in a cabin with some trusted associates to form Case Studies, a new project that’s stripped back to the bare bones of folk.
Each song is performed as though the only audience is a campfire, with Lortz’s rich, smoky voice often accompanied by fragile female tones. There’s a balance there that is perfect for the precise simplicity of Case Studies’ sound. Sometimes all you really need is a guitar and some lyrics to make a damn fine song.
“The Eagle or the Serpent” sounds like it could have been taken from Johnny Cash’s ghost, while the production on “Secrets” makes it sound like it was recorded in the 60’s. “Texas Ghost Story” manages to be delicately beautiful even in the gloom, and “The Day We Met” is an absolute treat, from its whispery tones to the upbeat whistling that ends the record. Wherever Lortz decides to take his music next, it’s clear that he has the resilience and creativity to continue putting out brilliant releases quickly and consistently.