Summer at Shatter Creek Sink or Swim

If looking for inspirational ditties and pick me ups, then please move on, as Summer at Shatter Creek will tweak and caress every maudlin nerve in the body. Like Iron & Wine, this gorgeous slice of melancholy is the work of one man, Craig Gurwich, and his lilting piano. With an affecting falsetto and knack for imbuing every line with a hint of depressed drama, Sink or Swim is, at its core, a simply beautiful experiment. Really just stripped down versions of an upcoming album, one has to wonder whether adding background strings or instrumentation will help a song like "Optimistic.” The barren production and piano accompaniment allows integral nuances to be heard, like the slight shudder in Gurwich’s voice as he sings "I used to be optimistic,” which affects more than, for example, an overdone string quartet. From the inclusion of an amusing anecdote about his mother’s valiant attempts to finish the cover art to the five songs desolate yearnings caught so effectively and simply, Sink or Swim is an essential snapshot that will raise goosebumps and bring out your inner teenager. Grab it now, before the full-length comes out and drowns these perfect lo-fi nuggets in production tricks. (Redder)