Jack Stauber - HiLo Album Review

Story posted April 18, 2018 in CommRadio, Arts & Entertainment by Jenna Minnig

Jack Stauber, a student at the University of Pittsburgh, is an artist that's hard to pin down for the best reasons possible. From his oddball YouTube shorts to his jovial songs, Stauber has slowly but steadily begun to garner attention among internet music forums and communities. Stauber started releasing music in 2013, and with HiLo bering his fourth project overall and released just over a year after 2017’s Pop Food. The record contains 44 blissful minutes filled with a variety of lo-fi and psychedelic styles of music.  

Stauber’s style is unique, standing out from the majority of current popular alternative and underground music. Whether it's the eclectic instrumentation or vocal deliveries, each track is a brand new experience. It’s difficult to compare Stauber to any other artist currently releasing music, as his style is not only so uniquely his own, but ranges so widely from song to song. While some may draw comparisons between Stauber and Ariel Pink since both artists share similar vocal arrangements and have an inclination towards a hypnagogic-pop sound, Stauber’s album is so unpredictable in the best way possible that it seems reductionary to compare him to Pink’s music.

Though it’s difficult to describe succinctly, it is easy to laud HiLo as a highly engaging album. Each track is an untapped journey open to individual interpretations by the listener. The record opens on a captivating note with “Cunk.” This song alone effortlessly switches between high, upbeat and energetic moments and then slower, mellow moments as Stauber changes his vocal sounds throughout the two-minute duration. The musical and vocal variations on this single track are just a sneak preview of what the rest of the record holds, and Stauber executes spectacularly on.

The small and carefully implemented background details on songs such as “John & Nancy” and “Coconut Ranger” add to the mystery in the stories behind the music. There are a large number of bedroom-DIY music makers in the independent scene today, but this album’s little quirks and diverse styles helps it stand head-and-shoulders above the majority of them. Stauber’s ability to create this kind of music in the comfort of his own bedroom is impressive, to say the least.

Although the record can be analyzed and broken down into its numerous individual elements, HiLo ultimately achieves something greater as a whole than its individual parts. It is an impressive album with sonic touches that are consumed by memories and experiences. The nostalgic feelings can be sensed on slower songs like “It’s Alright,” putting the album into this beautiful state of feeling extremely fresh while comfortably accessible. Fans of Stauber will find this release to be one of his most emotional and fascinating ones in his career thus far. Being only a college student just starting out in his musical endeavors, there is an endless number of paths for him to explore. His dedication to the craft of his music stands out on HiLo, and it will be intriguing to witness where his career will leads him as he continues down this path. If anything, the passion Stauber has for music will allow him to continue creating attention-grabbing music for many years to come.

Rating: 8/10


Jenna Minnig is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact her, email at jkm5756@psu.edu.