There is no mistery to this. This is folkish alternative rock with a violin and a cello – not for musical detail, but continually: they provide the actual music, even though the rhythm guitar is still there. So yeah, this is some pretty stuff and not only because of the strings section. Every instrument is competently played and the same goes for the lyrics and singing, which are well-polished and dramatic. In itself it is not only good, but perfect. It seems to have been recorded in a studio and they actually ask for a price for the album, so these guys are clearly in another level compared to most stuff reviewed here. Let me finish this paragraph by saying this is absolutely worth your 7 bucks, you can give it to your mother or girlfriend, I am sure they will like it. It’s just that likable.
But I’m not really writing this for mothers and girlfriends, so let the harsher review begin, ye people interested in music. First, for you also there will be something in this album. We are always in this ungrateful battle for original music and something that we can’t possibly forget by next month. The overall sound of this is certainly special and will give you a couple of pleasurable listens. Isn’t this all we ask? But the truth is this is pretty as a bird, but unfortunately I don’t really think this is great music. I just have to compare it to Fleet Foxes, the kind of prettiness this guys are pointing at I think is very much of the type the Fleet Foxes have achieved and delivered to millions of mothers and girlfriends around the world. So, I don’t see anything as great as “White Winter Hymnal”, “Tiger Mountain Peasant Song”, “Blue Ridge Mountains”. Most of the time I see myself not really caring for the lyrics or for the exaggerated, a bit forced, emotions of the singer. This might be just me, since I’m not much of an emotional person, but I got quite shook-up the first time I listened to the songs above and I feel nothing with these.
I kind of got bored of the strings also. Yeah, I never said “I got bored of Mastodon’s guitars, why don’t they play a banjo every now and then?”, but for one reason or another I got bored of the violin here. Again I don’t know if that’s just me, since I have listened to a lot of Classical music and might therefore be unimpressed by simply listening to violins and cellos. Trying to break free from my subjectivity here, I must add that the violins are played in a varied manner, it’s not the same wankery all the time like a Hollywood movie soundtrack or something. They carry nice melodies, provide dramatic build-ups and stops, deliver pretty musical detail and don’t feel like a gimmick at any point.
Man, I’m really an asshole. I think “The Adder” might be my favorite exactly because there are no strings. Reflecting on this track I little bit more, maybe the strings in the others provide an overdose of emotion and drama, making it all sound melodramatic and forced. It’s like they are rubbing the prettiness in your face. This track also features a really nice piano, I wish I saw more of that in the album. The last song is actually one of the best in the album as well, don’t miss that.
So is this a classic? Best album of the year? Shit, unfortunately not. But it’s well worth a couple listens and after you grow tired of it, give it to your girlfriend, I’m sure it will be her album of the year, with all the shit she listens to.
I hope these guys get their lucky break, some of this would fit in a romantic movie soundtrack like an old shoe.