The Daily Tar Heel


thursday, february 18, 2010


Schooner melds accessibility with innovation
aSSiStant diverSionS editor

schooner duck kee sessions

Unlike many “session” albums, Schooner’s latest release doesn’t abandon conciseness in favor of a few quick studio jams. There are no dawdling tracks, no sprawling compositions — instead, the Chapel Hill band has crafted six songs that distill warm, summery pop into a brief and melodic romp that blossoms like a springtime bud. The album, which is sold exclusively on CyTunes, a music download site set up to pay off the medical bills of former scene hero Cy

HOP ABOARD THE SCHOONER Time: 10 p.m. Friday Location: The Pinhook 177 W. Main St., Durham Info:

Rawls, is full of energy. “Feel Better” opens with the clamber of what sounds like a washboard paired with plaintive hoots, quickly merging with Reid Johnson’s raucous chorus. This blend of quirkiness and catchiness characterizes most of the EP. Just when it all starts to feel as casual

and chaotic as a backyard jam, the band rallies the listener with a rousing chorus. The mellow tracks reveal similar innovation, albeit less blatantly. The homegrown instrumentation of “Fortuition” is a graceful companion to the male-female vocals, which twist and merge in effort-

less harmony. The intersection of polished and unrefined elements strikes an ideal balance where neither attribute eclipses the other. But at some points, the balance is not so refined. Instrumental “Duck Kee Nights” pairs clanging, discordant xylophones with the sound of croaking frogs, and while it’s an appropriate ode to the album’s relaxed, backwoods aesthetic, the song ultimately dissolves in a two-minute mélange of cacophony. Despite two minutes of dissonance, the majority of Schooner’s Sessions prove that the band has the creativity to fashion catchy, breezy pop out of unexpected elements, fusing oddball instruments with accessible chord progressions and choruses. With this short set of songs, Schooner establishes its prowess at combining the unexpected with the readily approachable, and it’s a formula that works in the group’s favor. Contact the Diversions Editor at

drummer Billy alphin plays with chapel hill pop band Schooner during a show last spring. the band’s new eP is available at

dth File/Jordan lawrence

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Schooner lead singer reid Johnson performs with his band at local 506 last spring. the band will celebrate the release of its Duck Kee Sessions eP with a party at durham’s Pinhook venue on Friday night.

dth File/Jordan lawrence