Justin DiFebbo follows up the considerable promise of his first album Turn Out the Light, Turn on the Stereo with a strong sophomore effort Skin and Bones. The Philadelphia based singer/songwriter's ten songs are primarily filtered through a retro sensibility, but beneat the pomp and circumstance of the album's orchestrated approach, melody is the release's beating heart. They seem to flow naturally out of DiFebbo and, even on the more experimental pieces, they may be fractured or disjointed, but they are omnipresent. The vocal melodies, in particular, are quite strong and free-flowing, but DiFebbo's voice capitalizes on them and elevates them higher. The production has an almost taw immediacy; it seems like DiFebbo spared himself no effort in creating an aural experience that suggests the band is in the same room with you throughout the album's duration.
Justin DiFebbo scored big with his first release Turn Out the Light, Turn on the Stereo and his latet effort, Skin and Bones, will likely widen the growing spotlight on his work. The album's ten songs are largely balanced between two stylistic focus points - dreamy, quasi-psychedelic light rock and quirky, guitar-powered rock and roll. There are shadings and variations on these twin points, but DiFebbo finds a fruitful line of attack early on and sticks with it. Another positive - few albums you hear this year will likely sound so inspired.
Indie Music Review
This is a remarkable album. You can't call something an instant classic - that sort of designation comes with time. However, the passage of time isn't required to recognize the greatness of an individual work, but rather properly appreciate the scope of its greatness.
Justin DiFebbo's latest album Skin and Bones is a great work of musical art. Some might hear these ten songs and say he isn't an original writer. The material, however, speaks for itself. Few of the songs are minimalist in any way, but are never asked to support more weight than their structures can bear.
The vast majority of the songs are remakably packed with an assortment of superbly arranged musical elements and never sound cluttered. Rather than carping about their originality or lack thereof, a close listen to these songs reveals a magnificent re-envisioning of vibrant musical forms through a modern consciousness with all of its influences.
Indie Rock Cafe
Philadelphia musician Justin DiFebbo's sophomore relase, Skin and Bones, set to drop next month, is more of the seductive, dreamy music found on his acclaimed debut, Turn Out the Light, Turn On the Stereo.
When an artists writes me and promises they want no deals or gigs or anything – they just want to be heard... that's a blessing. When that artist happens to be an old college friend – well, of course you are going to listen. I am sure I have some debt to pay for all the hours hanging about in Justin DiFebbo's dormitory room. We met first day of freshman year at La Salle University, Philadelphia, 1992 as the class of 1996. Justin was neat, responsible and studious yet still played in a rock band. I introduced him to Keith Jarrett's Koln Concert and it became quite influential for the young piano player. Now, the beauty of the digital age is we get a reminder of how people from our past lives do in fact age like all other humans. Rather than stay preserved the same age in our memories – 20 something – life moves onward even as we are so far apart.
Christopher Long Showbiz Guru
Not-so-simply put, Justin DiFebbo's debut record is an alluring seduction, presenting an aural collision of Brian Wilson's songwriting, Neil Young's vocal vulnerability and Simon and Garfunkel's simplistic complexity — all pinned against fresh-sounding Fountains of Wayne arrangements and soft-pop production.
Dim the lights, fire up some candles, and get ready for Justin DiFebbo. Philadelphia-based singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist/producer DiFebbo has been on the music scene for years in a band context, but he finally decided to break out on his own with his debut solo record, Turn Out the Light, Turn on the Stereo. The seven-song offering, released earlier this year, is a refreshing collection of Beach Boys/Simon and Garfunkel/Pink Floyd/Beatles-influenced material all woven into a magically unique tapestry that is clearly DiFebbo’s. While seven songs may sound a bit short, it seems to work cohesively in this mellow context .
Indie Artists Alliance
Americans have an aversion to revisiting the past that most of the world does not share. We talk about the past, in this context, not as a place to hide from progress, but rather a shared history all may draw inspiration from if so moved. Many of our musical traditions are deep reservoirs for self-expression that we've only skimmed the surface of and share connections with other traditions. DiFebbo's fidelity to past musical styles isn't a limitation. It would be if he were a shameless imitator or demonstrated little to no grasp about how to use those musical elements. It isn't the case. Instead, DiFebbo clearly understands the music tradtions he's chosen to align himself with and crafts songs that illustrate his influences while still bearing distinctive, idiosyncratic marks of the individual. The ten songs on his second album Skin and Bones are the best evidence for these claims - varied, consistent, familiar, yet crackling with youthful confidence and a distinctive voice.
Justin DiFebbo Bares Soul in Skin and Bones
Skin and Bones by Philadelphia's Justin DiFebbo is a dreamy mashup of indie rock, psychedelic, and acoustic sounds all melded into one summery record that is sweet and soulful. In just ten tracks, DiFebbo takes us on a spacey journey that feels one part conventional pop album, one part movie soundtrack. Blending together widely nuanced instrumentals with airy vocals, Skin and Bones is a musical journey that makes the young artist seem years ahead of his craft.
What is old is new again on Justin DiFebbo's sophomore album, Skin and Bones. It is a beautiful album that does not invent anything new, break new ground, or skewer the idols of the past, but doesn't really need to. It simply celebrates that sweet and lush psychedelic sound in the tradition of early '70s Pink Floyd, Big Star, and late '90s Flaming Lips. The beauty and vitality of the songs more than justifies them having to be apologetic about their embrace of this now-classic sound. Everything about it seems to have a kind of timeworn patina that makes it soothing, comfortable, and familiar.
I Sing in the Kitchen
Lovely piano. Lashes of psychedelia. Sad lyrics. Vocals that glide above all.
“Adrift” has me firmly anchored. Love it.
“Our minds they may be gone
too far along
We did not know
that help was right around the corner”
Something Else Reviews
Philadelphia-based multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Justin DiFebbo dives head long into the styles and feel of pop songs from previous eras on the deeply enveloping Turn Out the Light, Turn On the Stereo. Of course, the risk there is great – in some cases, these styles have been left behind because they were so perfectly executed; in others, because they feel shrink-wrapped in another era – but DiFebbo sidesteps those pitfalls by continually incorporating his own unique post-modern quirkiness.
I’m a huge believer that your environment is just as important when you’re trying to listen to music. It’s a gray, snowy morning here in Philadelphia. I sit here in my dark living room, sipping my coffee while trying to catch up on emails and Justin DiFebbo’s latest piece of work pops up in my inbox. His sound could not be any more perfect for this very here moment.
DiFebbo’s slow, churning vocals instantly ease my mind. The light twang, the subtle organ in the background, and that damn romantic melody – his sound is a hit. Track by track, all solid and cohesive, I found myself engaged, enjoying the diversity. Listen to Turn Out The Light, Turn On The Stereo below and be sure to read more up on this local boy by clicking here.
Music Street Journal
This is really a masterpiece. The mix of sounds here is classic and modern. The album works very much as a whole with a real flow to it. None of hte material is weak or lacking in any way. There is enough variety to keep it fresh from beginning to end, yet it's never a stretch to imagine this all coming from the same act.
Probably if one needed a quick label for the whole set, modern progressive rock would fit. That’s not completely accurate, but it’s close. The truth is, this set is entertaining and shows a lot of talent. It’s likely it will make it into a “best of list” or two by the time 2014 is over. Yes, it’s that good.