A few years ago, The Dutchess and the Duke graced the music scene with their debut album of folksy rock and glorious harmonies and were hailed by many as a stunning first release. They followed with Sunset/Sunrise, which was an equally interesting and complete album, building on the success of the first, and once again the band made sure to imprint itself upon listeners. However, during that second album, there was a shirt in importance to the role of Kimberly Morrison in providing those juxtaposed feminine vocals with the deep rasp of Jesse Lortz. So the question that remains is this: will Lortz flop without that constant aspect, or soar out on his own?
Well, to me, the answer is clear as can be when the first song begins to play. “From the Blade of My Love” is the perfect opener for this album because it reveals some of the goodness that can be found here, but it doesn’t give it all away. Soft strumming sets off the song and brings in a heavier sense of folk and less Rolling Stones-esque rock music. The biggest difference that is noticeable from his group efforts is that where you would expect the buzz of guitars to chime in, there are only delicate melodies. But, this is not all Case Studies has to offer. A few songs later, you have the piano driven “Animals,” which opens up a faster pace with less smoky female backing vocals that create a softer and more innocent sound. Also present on this album is a showcase of Lortz’s vocal talent himself, which is consistently exceptional throughout.
In a statement Lortz made about this collaborative album of sorts was that this was the first time that he was genuinely excited to be making music and on The World is Just a Shape to Fill the Night, you can feel this change. On previous albums, the talent, and the excellent song writing is there, but here, the details are all apparent. Each and every song is crafted careful and serene. The sensation while listening to this can only be one of pure bliss as the waves of acoustic guitar, harsh/soft vocals, beautiful stories and the assorted other instrument that makes each song stand strongly alone, yet weave together nicely in a collective sense.
The end result of this side project is something you would expect from Lortz. It’s just as good, if not better than his other work. While it is excellent right from the start, it also has enough depth to appreciate on repeated listens. And you’ll definitely want have repeated listens.
Download: Case Studies – You Folded Up My Blanket Like We Were Already Lovers [MP3]