Skittish – Tragedy of the Commons

Rating: 4/5
Released: 2006
Reviewer: Jason Morelyle

With Tragedy of the Commons, the Minneapolis-based Skittish has released a distinctive and vibrant album that offers a refreshingly innovative reading of the much-popularized indie folk-rock genre. With Jeff Noller as the brainchild behind Skittish – and the sole songwriter on this album – the lyrics are the bedrock of Tragedy. And if you’re one of the few to pay undue attention to wordsmithery, the lyrics here are at times poignant and introspective, and at others startlingly unanticipated – like being pushed from behind into oncoming traffic.

Moving through an array of musical genres – from folk-rock ballads to acoustic-based odes, pop-based power melodies, and even a couple spoken-word pieces – Tragedy of the Commons is an excellent example of how a compelling artist like Noller can explore a wide range of musical interests and make them work together. Noller is obviously an explorer, and if Tragedy is any kind of map of where his obvious creative talent is going, Skittish will have staying power.