An album more appropriately titled than this would be hard to come by. Samara Lubelski?s gentle folk-rock and sweetly languorous vocals don?t immediately demand attention and may seem slightly generic on first listen. But ?The Fleeting Skies? will hover on the periphery of the memory and each listen strengthens the impression left by this masterpiece of understatement and brevity. These ten songs, ranging from two and a half to three and a half minutes long, bleed together into a tapestry of subtle psychedelia that is just perfect for staring into on a lazy afternoon.
Most of the instruments on the album are played by Lubelski herself. Ultra-clean electric and acoustic guitar lines provide the base for each song with assorted percussive embellishment providing differing shades of detail from tune to tune. Flutes and strings occasionally swoop down and wrap up everything in their warmth. But Lubelski?s voice is the real feature attraction. It?s difficult to tell if it is naturally so resonant or if she is double-tracking, probably a little of both. The background vocal harmonies are sheer beauty.
?The Fleeting Skies? sounds like a female counterpart to Nick Drake?s ?Bryter Layter? without the embarrassingly dated saxophone solos and with a little more optimism. The timpani drums and string arrangement of ?Crowns and Courts? especially recalls Drake?s baroque yet modest songs of hope and longing. The subjects of the songs are rarely as frankly personal as Drake?s, but it is somewhat difficult to discern exactly what a song like ?Keeper of Beauty? is about. That hardly matters when the songs are as beautiful as these. It?s incredible that an album so seemingly simple can actually contain a universe of mystery.
Lubelski?s musical talent has already been made clear through her work with various NYC groups (Hall of Fame, Tower Recordings, as an engineer for Sightings). ?The Fleeting Skies? should cement her reputation as an incredible solo performer, as well. 9/10 -- Sean Witzman (25 May, 2005)