In the vein of what may be described as experimental Americana, debut album ‘Hearts On Hold’ neither embraces nor rejects the notion. Instead, the record finds itself plummeting into the depths of otherworldly sounds in the midst of battlefield drums. Opening with ‘Multiply A House’, the sombre tone has an unexpected immediacy, a trait which prevalent throughout. Insistent, yet refusing to be obtrusive, the militant drumming which provides the backbone of this track sets the precedence for much of the album. ‘The Felt Sense’, percussion led, is a more quickly paced affair, incorporated with Repp’s vocals which seem fittingly detached at time. ‘Apples And Oranges’ reverts back to solemn tones, with both Haege and Repp’s vocals intertwining. Piano led with drummed reverberations, this is definitely a highlight (amongst many others). Haege’s pleading, heartfelt tones complement Repp’s sweeping vocals, providing a much needed reflection on part of the listener.
‘Just Too Much’ picks up on where ‘Apples And Oranges’ leaves off. Driven by the soft rhythm, it gives the record the right touch of pace and momentum at the right time without veering too far away from the unhurried stylistic endeavours of other tracks. Slipping back into a folksier territory, it conjures up images of small town America - one can envision it being the soundtrack to films such as Juno or Garden State. A cliché, but a sweet one at that. Songs such as ‘Diamond In The Forest’ and ‘I Know You Know’ would not be out of place at a Victorian music hall or accompany a haunting silent film. The eeriness serves to, the quirky sounds and inflections transporting us through an audio time warp.
It can be said that all stories are essentially the same, and songs of love and life are inevitable in almost all lyrics as human emotion proves. It is how the story unfolds where the strength of this record lie, whether it be hypnotic tales of love and even warnings of not letting a man be your ‘Sad Story’. Penultimate track ‘Lonely Nights’ takes time to reach its juncture. Horn fused and drummed reverbs (a clear characteristic), it builds from quiet peculiarity to culminating infusing guitar and trumpets before slowly diffusing out.
Organs, horns, piano, drums and even guitar, the vast multi-instrumental approach has led to an epic, accomplished record. If you are a fan of the separate work of previous work by the group, then you will be pleasantly surprised at the route taken. And if you are equally unaware, you most definitely will not be disappointed.