Rocky Votolato, “Television of Saints”

Rocky Votolato is another former kinda-punk rock singer (Waxwing, Lying on Loot) who discovered that he also had an aptitude for dreamier, more sentimental folk rock over the past ten years.  Television of Saints is a fan-funded album via Kickstarter, and is a bit more bare-bones than some of his other releases.  The songs and arrangements are simpler, leaning mostly on Votolato’s vocals and guitar.  The subject matter is, for the most part, less heavy than his previous releases, which have touched frequently on his personal struggles with depression and mental illness.  The album gives us a happier, more satisfied Votolato, which shows in the easy, folky groove that the songs all seem to settle into.  Most of the songs sound similar and are missing the angry undercurrent that’s run through other releases and his live show.  That’s not a negative; it’s just a different sound that he’s going for, this time around.  Some of the fullest songs are the ones with an emphasis on a full band sound.  With this album being entirely crowd-funded, it’s no surprise that it’s not as full as it could have been.  I would have been interested to see what he could have done with an even bigger budget, although I’m always a fan of the stripped-back approach.  It’s a comfortable album, over all, not taking many risks, but where it succeeds is in the heartfelt lyrics and performance from Votolato.

Rocky Votolato stops by Schubas tomorrow night.  The show starts at 9:00 pm and tickets are $15.

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