Student talent is something that should never be ignored, although it often is when it comes to the world of entertainment media. Especially within the music industry, the unrefined and exploratory sounds of student music projects are often dismissed as nothing more than cheap imitations of those students’ musical inspirations. However, as four students on our very own campus are here to prove, student music projects can be much more than what the industry makes of them. Nico Raimont, Julian Glasthal, Rey Perez and their muse and inspiration Craig Sippin are all Razor’s Edge Shark Talent students at NSU. While each of them has their own musical experiences and agendas of their own, they have melded their comradery and musical abilities together to create their very first full-length album release as The Craig Show. “The Pilot Episode,” released on April 1, is a collection of eight tracks that aim to create a thematic album experience that highlights the personalities and individual talents of its collaborators.
The record kicks off with “The Pitch,” a skit featuring a humorously dramatic and soulful opening monologue provided by Perez over the smooth, mysterious strumming of an acoustic guitar. He is judged by Sippin, playing the role of a skeptical record label representative with Glasthal and Raimont getting ready to convince him of the band’s talent. This skit does an effective job at setting the tone for the rest of the record, and the strum at the end of the track flows into the next track.
“Crosshairs,” arguably the most well-known and heavily featured song on the record among the band’s peers, is a passionate approach to a love song that does an interesting job at melding multiple musical genres and subverting the expectations that come with each of them. The instrumental features a healthy blend of harmonic acoustic guitar and the pulsating heartbeat of the Latin percussion underlying it. The transition between Glasthal’s singing voice and rapping voice is unexpected but fitting and welcoming while the instrumental bridge featuring some funky saxophone fills is a nice touch. The choruses are warm and well mixed, lending to the overall emotional tone of the track. The track is later followed up by “Crosshairs – Reprise,” a much simpler, yet more evocative acoustic rendition of the track that rounds out the original content on the album quite nicely.
The band seems to be open about the musical inspirations that they take from their own experiences as evidenced by their tasteful cover of the late George Michael’s “Careless Whisper.” The instrumentation is immediately recognizable and inviting while still retaining the flair that the band presents in their instrumentals over the rest of the record. It is emotional, groovy and smooth. This track also does a great job of bringing out Raimont’s vocals and the emotion they can possess. Some of the vocal improvisations in his performance are fitting and complement the flow of the track well.
The most interesting cut on the record, however, both sonically and thematically, is “Baby G.” The track subverts expectations by beginning very similarly to “Crosshairs” before launching into a high energy ballad about the titular Baby G driven forward by consistent guitar fills and the pulse of the drums. The saxophone comes back in full force with some aggressive and funky fills that come to a halt as the final third of the track transitions into a slow, methodical and more emotional tone that rounds out the cut.
“The Pilot Episode” is a great first effort put forth by the Shark Talent group that comprises The Craig Show. While nothing is perfect, and they have room for improvement, the record puts forth their talents in a way that inspires and foreshadows their efforts to come. Sonically, the record is a great collection of diverse sounds and styles for budding artists and the songwriting, while simple, is catchy, rhythmic and full of emotion. In a sea of newly emerging talent, this unassuming student album project is one that shines with potential and personality.