October 06, 2002

LImited Sight Distance

What's in a name? Well, when I first saw this band's name, I thought, "oh, Dear, this is going to be metal or some sort of odd space rock techno hippie jam band crap." Looking at the cover didn't help much, either--but then I read the bio, and some really great names started to appear: "featuring members of Hopewell, Varnaline, Mercury Rev." Though that didn't mean that this little EP would be any good, it did help to quell my fears about what it should sound like.

Limited Sight Distance is the project of Stefanie Fix, a folk singer who decided to take a slightly more atmospheric approach to her music. Bringing along friends from bands like Mercury Rev, A Don Piper Situation, Hopewell, Cakelike, and Varnaline, she's ditched the traditional folk/songwriter world that she came up in, and is setting out, exploring new ideas. Starting with the jerky guitar and big drum beat of "So Much Trouble," it's amazing how much Fix sounds like K. McCarty--a voice that's been missing for several years now. I'm happy that someone finally sounds like her! Following that is the soft, creepy "Cynical Eyes," that sounds like a lost Concrete Blonde outtake, which is also not a bad thing. "Maybe" and "It's Only Me" follow, and they're very much in the vein of the previous two songs.

Overall, the songs are nice, pretty, but growth is something that comes along after time. This is her debut in this new style, and if she keeps at it, she may have something good here. If you like Sue Garner or Shannon Wright or Heidi Berry, you'll certainly enjoy this little record. I'll admit that I have a soft spot for this kind of atmospheric folk, and with a little bit of growth and maturity and maybe a name change, great ideas and beautiful music will follow.

---Joseph Kyle

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