We leave so much unsaid; so much inside, trapped behind lips clamped shut and potential embarrassment. Not so Rocky Votolato, the Seattle-based (but Texas-bred) singer-slash-songwriter previously known for his work with the acclaimed indie rock outfit* Waxwing*.
Votolato’s songs are shameless; conscious-cleansing admissions of love and hate that resonate with each and every one of us, touching that rarely spied raw nerve that so few baggage-burdened troubadours manage to expose. Take the title track, for example; it’s not even midway through, and Votolato lets go of himself: “Oh God I love you, I mean forever.” Such frankness persistently bubbles to the surface on Suicide Medicine, but the love isn’t always so gob-smackingly simple. ‘Alabaster’ seems to tell of the overcoming of significant relationship hardships, and politics play their part, too, most obviously on the lyrically graphic ‘Automatic Rifle’.
Though trials and tribulations do form a hefty core at the heart of Votolato’s work, he never lets lyrical demons adversely affect music that is never less than beautiful, more often than not comprising just voice and acoustic guitar. Sure, love hurts, but when the medicine’s as sweet as this we'll take all that you can spare.
7Mike Diver's Score