One can expect
competently produced and written singer/songwriter pop on this
effort from Austria of all places. The lyrics and liner notes are in
English, however, and the entire affair could just as easily have
been recorded in the USA, from a stylistic perspective. Tobias
Pötzelsberger deserves substantial credit for the work he's put
into We, the People - these songs have been carefully
arranged, and are remarkably melodic and lush. The fact remains,
however, that this disc lacks originality -- it busies itself with
delicate pop tunes rife with acoustic guitar and strings, but never
moves past light coffeeshop fare.
Still, within the
realm in which it operates, We, the People succeeds
unequivocally. I have to admit that even I enjoy this ten-track
enterprise, despite my preference for less conventional artforms. Pötzelsberger
is a flatly likeable musician - his voice is polished and smooth in
a Jack Johnson sort of way, and he has a gift for curling
little stories into his lyrics, as on infectious (if sordid)
character study "Ms Anderson" (see the video below). The songs tread
the same ground as mainstream singer/songwriters, though one can
also sense the fingerprints of Elliot Smith and Nick Drake
on many of these songs. At the record's better moments, Pötzelsberger's
songs are potently catchy -- as on mellow "How to Lose the War"
and polished "Concerning Words & Heats" -- even if others amount to
filler ("As Seen By the Things," "I Let You Go,"
"The Ukelele Song"). Ultimately, We,
the People is far from a game-changer, but it's a decent stroll
that operates ably within its limits.