Pete Schluter, As the Crow Flies | Album Review | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

Seven Days needs your financial support!

Pete Schluter, As the Crow Flies 

Album Review


The bustling local singer-songwriter scene gets a little more crowded as former Carlson front man Pete Schluter releases his debut album, As the Crow Flies. From the sound of things, he’ll be a welcome addition.

Things get under way with “Thunder Mountain.” Over a strummed 12-string acoustic progression, Schluter’s light, reedy voice nimbly skips around a pleasing, if somewhat predictable, melody. Lyrically the singer aims high, delivering a wistfully metaphoric tale of aging and loneliness. Youthful ambition gets the better of him at times, though, as he serves up a few poetic clunkers. But all in all, it’s a solid tune evoking a (very) young Neil Young.

“Sky in a Jar” is next, and Schluter continues to wear his influences on his sleeves. The tune has a dusty, ethereal Americana bent, not unlike Uncle Tupelo-era Jay Farrar.

“Take a Look Behind the Sun” owes heavy debts to Big Star, complete with swooning backing vocals and a clever bridge reminiscent of a number of cuts from #1 Record / Radio City.

On the next track, “Strange Dream,” Schluter again shoots for the sun, but this time with Icarus-like results. At its core, it is probably not a bad song, per se. One imagines Schluter was going for a, well, dreamy affair. But it’s hard to get past the cheesy synth strings and keyboards, which lend the effort an overbearingly Disney-ish, earnest feel.

Carlson — featuring guitarist John Flanagan, now of In Memory of Pluto — join him on a couple of numbers, the first being “Lunar Tidings.” It’s a rollicking indie-rock jaunt. Like his quieter tunes, the song showcases Schluter’s knack for imaginative composition.

“Innisfree” is a fairly cliché Americana waltz, focusing on the timeworn desire to leave “the city” for “the country.” It even comes with obligatory lines about the banks of some unnamed river.

Fortunately, with his Carlson mates in tow, “Peggy Lee” erases any memory of the previous song with an alt-country scorcher. At times throughout the album, Schluter sounds a little too fragile. Here he really opens up and delivers his most engaging vocal performance.

The album closes with the title track. Sweetly melancholic and featuring a nifty piano line toward the finish, it brings a strong effort to a fitting end.

As the Crow Flies is not without its flaws — most notably, hero worship and occasional heavy-handed lyrics. However, it’s an intriguing debut from a talented young tunesmith. As Schluter sheds his influences and comes into his own, he’ll certainly be one to watch.

Want to hear more?

Pete Schluter celebrates As the Crow Flies with a release party at Radio Bean this Friday, March 27.

Got something to say? Send a letter to the editor and we'll publish your feedback in print!

More By This Author

About The Author

Dan Bolles

Dan Bolles

Dan Bolles is Seven Days' assistant arts editor and also edits What's Good, the annual city guide to Burlington. He has received numerous state, regional and national awards for his coverage of the arts, music, sports and culture. He loves dogs, dark beer and the Boston Red Sox... more


Comments are closed.

Since 2014, Seven Days has allowed readers to comment on all stories posted on our website. While we’ve appreciated the suggestions and insights, the time has come to shut them down — at least temporarily.

While we champion free speech, facts are a matter of life and death during the coronavirus pandemic, and right now Seven Days is prioritizing the production of responsible journalism over moderating online debates between readers.

To criticize, correct or praise our reporting, please send us a letter to the editor. Or send us a tip. We’ll check it out and report the results.

Online comments may return when we have better tech tools for managing them. Thanks for reading.

Latest in Album Review

Keep up with us Seven Days a week!

Sign up for our fun and informative

All content © 2022 Da Capo Publishing, Inc. 255 So. Champlain St. Ste. 5, Burlington, VT 05401

Advertising Policy  |  Privacy Policy  |  Contact Us  |  About Us  |  Help
Website powered by Foundation