Dru Cuter - Hometown (2017)

Written by Robert Elgin, posted by blog admin

Hometown, a two song EP release from singer/songwriter/guitarist Dru Cutler, likely ranks as one of the most interesting releases in 2017. It’s a measure of its quality that a mere duo of songs can carry such musical and lyrical weight. Cutler, Tampa born, now works out of the Brooklyn, New York area and his uniquely sweeping musical vision proves itself capable of incorporating everything from genuine electric guitar pyrotechnics, melodic grace, and solid writing front loaded with memorable images and an universality sure to capture attentive listeners imaginations. Cutler has a remarkable lack of pretension – the idea of writing an EP about the experiences of youth, leaving home to find one’s way through the world, and looking back on it all with a knowing eye and a surfeit of experience isn’t particularly revolutionary, but Cutler puts over these themes with powerfully understated artistry redeeming any hint of the familiar.

The title track testifies to the aforementioned point. Cutler’s lyrical acumen will immediately grab listeners attention, but not thanks to any poetic pyrotechnics or stunning revelatory moments. Instead, Cutler builds his narrative like a novelist with an eye for significant detail. We are invited to see his childhood home, the empty parking lots where he hung as a youth, and seemingly insignificant adding up to something larger and much more revealing of both singer and place in time. It’s enhanced by a powerful, uncluttered arrangement distinguished by high production values and apparently sharp judgment about where to focus its sonic lens – the crisp and muscular drumming certainly sets a tone but, beyond that, the interweaving of acoustic guitar and piano gives it’s an airy sophistication never overstepping its boundaries into self-indulgence. The energies driving this tune are the sort we often associate with pop or light rock, but there’s none of the emptiness and gloss marking those forms dragging “Hometown” down into the mire. Instead, he turns those attributes over with supreme effect thanks to his stylistic control. The chorus is memorable and accompanied by melodic harmony vocals.

The second song on this release, “Infinite Moons”, is a much different affair. It begins with some fluid acoustic guitar spilling over into an often lush, but never overwrought, arrangement vibrant with Beatlish flavor. It is never, however, outright imitative. Instead, Cutler proves himself quite adept at what all great musical artists do – he takes his reference points and filters them through his own subconscious in a way more reflective of his own passions and personality rather than adoration for any particular artist. There are no instrumental spotlights here. The arrangement, as a whole, exhibits a much more orchestrated structure than the first track with each of the parts melding into a seamless, larger whole. Dru Cutler’s work is remarkable for its confidence, lively step, and his unabashed sensitivity to music’s possibilities. Hometown expresses this all in a way certain to draw many into its web.