Mike Scheidt Stay Awake

Mike ScheidtStay Awake
This is the debut solo effort by Mike Scheidt, native Oregonian and founding member, guitarist and vocalist of YOB. That band are best known for their massive doom metal sound and riffs that slam into the listener like asteroids colliding with the battered surface of a pockmarked moon. Stay Awake is well outside the aesthetic he's created for YOB. The songs are composed of just his voice and acoustic guitar, with the occasional sound of waves, wind or layered choral vocals. Scheidt's singing voice has always been thin and reedy, and that quality is emphasized by the bare instrumentation of this album, making him sound exposed and even fragile, something the armour of YOB's raw power prevents. There is still strength, a tenacious hopefulness that coils around every song, even as Stay Awake revels in its delicacy. This is unquestionably a very personal album and there are many moments of pain and intimacy, such as in "The Price," when Scheidt sings tremulously, as though on the verge of tears, "the slightest whisper/a dagger to my core." The emotional register and song structures that Scheidt employ aren't too far removed from his work with YOB, but the execution is utterly different. Stay Awake is an excellent record for the moments you'd prefer to be attacked with needles rather than a sledgehammer. (Thrill Jockey)