Audible Musings

Wye Oak
June 5, 2009, 2:46 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

So this is a cool new band I stumbled across on Steriogum while kind of scrounging around for new music. They’re an interesting mix of sorts. The only way I can really describe their music is if you took The National, Iron and Wine, and Explosions in the Sky and made a band. It’s a pretty cool result. A fair amount of their choruses kind of explode into grandiose, quick-strumming affairs that envelop the listener, only to condense into a more folky verse that calls to mind images of thick-rimmed glasses riding the nose of a frizzy haired man who picks the perfect peaches (see their website for that funny video).

The Baltimore duo, who will be on tour this summer (see above link for details), just got finished doing some traditional folk tunes for a rardio station. Check them out here. They’re pretty neat, and it’s always nice to see an indie band doing old tunes.

Anyway, they have their freshman album out now, titled If Children. It’s very obviously a band’s first album. It feels like a child wandering around, getting used to its bearings, and succeeding somewhat. You can feel the energy that the band has, but it’s not as channeled as it could be. Kind of like swirling gasses just waiting to form into a star. As the band says on its facebook, although they have two members, they are able to produce vast amounts of noise. In this album you find elements of the explosions-like choruses that tower above the verses in volume and with a pecular wall-of-sound type effect, but you also find elements of scaled down enectronic synth loops, almost reminicent of some of the more electronic Beirut music out there. That said, it works, but only kind of. “We’d like to think that if a song is good enough, it’ll stand on its own regardless of how much noise you pile on top. On the other hand, we do like noise.” (according to their facebook description). This does a better job of summarizing their sound. It seems, at times, forced noise. The music needs more room to breath, voices need more room to shine, and in the end the album needs more tying it together to really soar. As a first attempt at an album, though, the band has a lot of different sounds to try and work with for the second effort, which I look forward to hearing.

The band has its second album out soon. It will be titled The Knot. After hearing the teaser off Steriogum, I’d look for a more focused sound, one that is probably going to be less electronic, but a sound that does not shed the largesse of its sonic palette. Folky, but with a unique twist, elements of experimental “wordless music,” but with a down to earth feel invoked by artists such as Bon Iver. Quite a neat mix of sounds, but one that, for me, defines its own niche in the ever expanding world of sound-alike, generic indie music.

never write a review of a band like this while listening to &down. what a bad idea.


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