The Rock Doctor, British Columbia, Canada

“Sharp lyrics, lively tunes, breathtaking guitar playing and a tight sound make this album a delight… Conundrum is so damn cool it’s almost insane.”

Music Reviews by The Rock Doctor
Review By John Kereiff
Gonzo Okanagan, January 22, 2021
British Columbia, Canada

CONUNDRUM Michael Schatte (Independent) ***** (5 Stars)

An exciting new record from what Blues Matters UK calls “one of the best undiscovered songwriters of our times”, that’s Michael Schatte’s Conundrum.  Sharp lyrics, lively tunes, breathtaking guitar playing and a tight sound make this album a delight.

Schatte calls his original blend of rock, blues, Celtic and other styles “eclectic electric roots music”, and if you’re not listening closely you might even mistake it for country- though not really like any country you’ve heard.  Michael is a jaw-droppingly talented guitarist and clearly an engineer/ producer of considerable skill too, making for a punchy yet organic sound.  What will grab you first is the stunning musicianship and your appreciation for everything that’s happening only increases with each spin.

Conundrum displays a variety of musical adventures, matched by the disparate subject matter Michael has chosen to cover over these 15 tracks; lust ready to boil over (Water In The Kettle), sibling rivalry with a sense of humour (Please Don’t Dance With My Brother) and existential whimsy in the psychotropic title cut and the slightly more down to earth In The Cold Hard Here And Now.  This is a record to enjoy on many levels, from the brilliant playing to the lyrical constructs that you’ll find engaging food for thought.  He also sheds revealing light on our darker impulses with songs like Silly Old Man, The Candy Aisle and A Mind A Mess.

From the blues, folk and country soul elements to the Celtic flavours you’ll notice weaving in and out from time to time, Conundrum is an album you should listen to intently to fully appreciate its gifts;  yet doing so doesn’t feel like hard work at all.  I’m just beginning to catch up to a pile of stuff that’s been waiting patiently on my desk for months for some attention and love.  This one was released November 6th so once again I’m behind the 8 ball, but I can’t wait to start sharing some of these amazing songs on my United DJ’s radio show.   Conundrum is so damn cool it’s almost insane.

KEY CUTS:  Conundrum, Silly Old Man, Bread Water Love

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