For every hardcore Streetlight Manifesto fan that turns their nose up at this album, two indie-folk fans will find a new favorite singer-songwriter.
There’s only one way to pull off an album of all-acoustic renditions of your band’s previous songs: Use the best songs in the band’s repertoire to hook new listeners and make them interesting and fresh enough for old fans to still find something new. Toh Kay’s (Tomas Kalnoky of Streetlight Manifesto) new full-length “Streetlight Lullabies” does just that.
Not to say that there was much concern in my mind that these covers would be dull, empty, or stale. As we’ve seen with his previous work, almost all of Kalnoky’s songs have enough depth and space to move around, expand upon, or strip down.
But at first glance the idea of putting this album out seemed like Kalnoky’s way of throwing a bone to hungry fans, so to speak; we’ve been hearing the same songs for four years or more, and are all itching for some new material (if the rumors are to believed that will be sometime next year). To release this acoustic collection somewhere in (the?) between their last covers project, “99 Songs Of Revolution,” and their next original release seemed to be more of appeasement than anything else.
The majority of tracks are different enough from their Streetlight originals to honestly make me feel like I’m listening to new songs by a budding folk artist. Specifically “Watch It Crash,” “Somewhere In The Between,” “Forty Days,” “We Will Fall Together,” “Sick And Sad,” and “A Better Place, A Better Time” do a great job with this. The remaining tunes “Would You Be Impressed,” “A Moment Of Silence,” “Dear Sergio” and “The Big Sleep”are a little closer to the originals, but there is still little, if any, quality sacrificed.
Obviously we’re all waiting for the next original to come out, and nothing can quite live up to hearing Kalnoky’s newest songs, but we have to remember to judge this record for what it is: a humble Streetlight-Plays-Streetlight collection, campfire-style. 4/5 stars.