Dustin Prinz – Eleven

He does just that, capably crafting a diverse collection of songs that run the gamut of Death Cab For Cutie-leaning indie (“So Many Deserving”), polished folk pop (“Freedom”) and ’90s alt-rock (“Next Time You’ll Know”), making for a tight, acoustic-driven affair with lots of personality.

Stripped-down usually necessitates simplicity, but Prinz is so at ease with the guitar — mastering percussive-styled hybrid picking — that Eleven reads organic, relaxed and intricate all the same. He’s a better musician than songwriter, but the gap has narrowed since his Drugs EP; each and every track features a nice, radio-friendly sheen.

He has the most fun dashing in the funk-bent rock of an Incubus or Red Hot Chili Peppers, as he does in “Angry Breakup Song” or “You’ll Answer When She Calls.” But his more traditional takes (“Maybe,” “Northstar”) are more than adept.

Eleven often reads more dated than timeless, content to amble over well-traveled roads. But Prinz has the guitar and songwriting chops to carve a special niche for himself, especially if he surrenders to more ambitious, adventurous and rewarding terrain.

He does so on “Evolve,” “Radio” and closer “Broken Guitar Strings,” conquering new lands like an acoustic guitar-wielding M83.

And with the important stuff already perfected, there’s no telling where he could go.

— Joshua Boydston

Joshua Boydston

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