Judging solely by the music, one doesn’t immediately get the impression that Casey Wickstrom has just found his way through a long, dark night of the soul. Wickstrom’s bouncy guitar work and light, breathy vocals recall the work of other acoustic noodlers, like Dave Matthews and Ben Harper. However, as his fingers leap quickly from jazzy chords to trilling arpeggios, Wickstrom’s lyrics paint a darker picture. On his new album, Bleed Out, the San Jose native grapples with getting sober in the wake of several years of depression, drugs and alcohol. The balance of bright notes and cautious optimism evokes sunshine at the end of a pitch-black tunnel.
[Casey Wickstrom is] the next Jangle Pop Virtuoso. I never thought I would encounter a better lyricist than Nick Cave, well, it looks like I just have after listening to Casey Wickstrom’s latest anthemic Alt Rock single Hollywood & Vine. Along with being quite the wordsmith Wickstrom also has an ethereally raw organic edge to his vocal prowess. Not many singer songwriters will admit to ‘fucking stuff up’, yet Casey Wicktrom makes no bones about it in Hollywood & Vine.As Acoustic Alt Rock goes, it doesn’t get much more progressive than Hollywood & Vine, the high-energy feel switches from a Lo Fi reminiscence to Jangle Pop guitar riffs that even Johnny Marr would be proud of, in fact, one of the riffs may well have been inspired by The Smiths – This Charming Man. Either way, the Californian artists natural rhythmic talent on the guitar absolutely made the track for me. It’s rare that acoustic guitarists have a standout style these days.