Music Review: Justin Klump’s Sticks & Stones

I normally don’t review music, because I know nothing about music. I’m sort of like Ellen DeGeneres on “American Idol” in that way, only not as funny or famous or talented. But I’m going to make a rare exception here, because I saw Justin Klump perform at a small venue near my home a couple years and was impressed by his sound.

Klump, who grew up in my state of Washington, has since moved to Nashville, because apparently he thinks Nashville is better than Washington, or that it offers more opportunities for budding artists such as him (he was named – back when he was under 21 – as one of the top artists under 21 by the Seattle P.I., among other honors). I’m pretty sure it’s the latter, but I hear Nashville is nice nonetheless. Klump has just released his new album Stick & Stones, which is now available for purchase.

Klump’s music – acoustic guitar and tenor vocals – is not usually the kind of music I listen to. That doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate his sound. I also could see his music working in a movie soundtrack, especially a romantic drama or a Zach Braff film, if he ever decides to make another movie as follow-up to 2004’s Garden State.

His EP has only five songs, but the small number is a product of an intentional decision to focus on delivering the best he has to offer rather than throw a bunch of stuff at the wall and see what sticks with audiences. The five songs are easy on the ears, with an emphasis on songwriting over guitar tricks. The songs work well on two levels: 1) as music you can lose yourself in, regardless of lyrics, a bittersweet backdrop of melody; and 2) as music with meaning, where the lyrics take center stage and the acoustics support his words.

I tend to be someone who zones out and focuses on the instrumental work rather than lyrics, and Klump’s music is mesmerizing in that regard. I also made a concerted effort to listen to the music with the lyrics, and it resonated just as well, albeit differently.

Like I said, I’m no music critic, but it’s not hard to see how Justin Klump’s music could end up in the movies. Sticks & Stones is a step in the right direction, and I don’t see him having to worry about words hurting him anytime soon.

As a bonus, you can download two free songs by using this widget:

By Erik Samdahl
Related categories: Miscellaneous