Vic Chesnutt: Skitter on Take-Off

RIYL: Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Daniel Johnston

Documenting a solo concert in San Francisco, Vic Chesnutt revisits his roots and goes back to basics with this stark example of shadowy introspection. Accompanying himself with mostly a subdued strum of his acoustic guitar and the incidental input of the enigmatic Jonathan Richman on guitar and harmonium and drummer/percussionist Tommy Larkin, he meanders through a troubling set of dark and dire melodies. Yet, despite this turgid set-up, Chesnutt populates his rumbling, meandering narratives with oddball hi-jinks, from the bizarre homage entitled “Dick Cheney” to the roll call of weirdos delineated in “Worst Friend” (“Your friend likes to get peed on in sexual situations… Your friend dresses up like Little Bo Peep… Your friend claims to have taken a dump in the White House…”). Likewise, the palpable anger that ripples through “My New Life” affirms the depth of these ominous overtones and moots any connection with the crowd. Quirky yet austere, Skitter on Take-Off provides what’s best described as an intimidating encounter. (Vapor Records 2009)

Vic Chesnutt web page