David Shultz David Shultz

College folk rock is a particularly loathsome genre in my books, yet David Shultz's self-titled debut is still impressive. He performs with a talent comparable to noteworthy contemporary singer-songwriters — "Fisher King" is reminiscent of Iron & Wine, and "Abyss," with its waltz tempo and soft, elusive guitar melody brings Giant Sand's "Chore of Enchantment" to mind. Shultz is gifted, and he wears his heart on the sleeve of his button-down shirt. His lyrics are charming, innocent, emotionally weighted, and far more believable than unfortunate contemporaries such as John Mayer. Shultz's song craft comes naturally, and so he shouldn't mess with his God-given talents, but still, it wouldn't hurt him to drop acid once or twice before he records his next album. I've no doubt that this record could garner attention itself, and its independent status gives it a wood-panel authenticity, but even the more striking tracks are stunted by an all-pervasive normality. Creativity can only flourish so much if you work by a formula, so when Shultz finally leaves the campus café you can expect to find him come into full bloom. (Triple Stamp)