"Irr channels the Beach Boys and Sufjan Stevens in equal measure, using ethereal, layered harmonies and a sweeping arrangement to tell the story of the dark places the mind can go when experiencing separation from a loved one."
Stone Irr is the product of a special kind of Midwestern religious folk. Just start with the name: what seems like an obvious pun was, in fact, an honest mistake, and as soon as Stone's parents found out, they offered to take him to the Lafayette, Indiana courthouse and change it. He was already in middle school. True story.
Stone Irr's debut album is called Sinner. It's a record about relationships - with a romantic partner, with god, with a complicated, conservative childhood. You hear it in tracks like “Wabash” and “In My Mind” - honest odes about the inane and tragic thoughts that come from trying to love someone. In “Lighted Room” and “Sinner” Stone speaks directly to former lovers and the divine.
Ultimately, through its turmoil, Sinner renders the listener vulnerable, and it’s Stone's voice that is most disarming. At its peak, a belted croon that bursts out of his small frame, but at other moments, and just as effortlessly, a controlled, focused whisper. His songwriting dips into the intimacy of early, Sufjan Stevens and the attractive brood of a Jeff Buckley album. The lyrics tapping into the open heart of The Antlers and doing the poetic work of early Elliott Smith. A start-to-finish listen is a ritual reminder of what laying yourself bare can yield: the possibility of loving and hurting, building and destroying, to be loud and to be soft. And this possibility is as intoxicating as it is terrifying.
"Best taken as one whole, enveloping chronicle, Sinner balances smart songwriting with a wholly compelling heart; the kind of record that quietly, over time, might well become something truly special."
"Although the peaks of harmonic beauty certainly astonish, they would be far less effective without Irr’s deeply felt delivery, like the "For My Friends," line "I can’t even believe the shit I tell myself." In the end, Sinner’s success seems to be equal parts heartfelt reflection and chilling orchestration."
"It’s hard to choose what stands out on the album. For me it’s the tapestry of multi-tracked vocals that tie the entire record together with a choral-folk effect. For others the stand-out will probably be the lyrics. Lines like “Each hour is a grueling testament to what point I can’t stand,” both gives the listener something to relate to as well as enough mystery that he or she must personalize it through the process of interpreting it."