Songs – Songs
I still like to listen to albums from beginning to end. At least for the first few listens. This is likely why I am always more familiar with the first half of an album than the second, kind of like how it was when vinyl was the only thing available to listen to music on. That’s why the first track is so important and can make or break a listening experience. If that first track doesn’t hook you, doesn’t pull you in, why waste 45 minutes or so listening. On my first listen to Songs the first track didn’t work, but luckily I didn’t turn it off.
The first track “Farmacy” doesn’t sit well, actually it just doesn’t feel unique enough to reel me in. It is also the introduction to Max Doyle’s unique voice, which works on every other track, but on “Farmacy” it just feels like it needs a different vocal take. It becomes better over repeated listens, but it still doesn’t have that hook. It doesn’t prepare you for what’s to come. For an album that is this good it should begin with a bang, but maybe the restraint this early is part of the point.
Beyond the first track it is difficult to find any fault with the rest of the record. Drifting on the waves of excellent musicianship “Oh No” branches into “Retreat” where we get our first taste of astral, yearning female vocals of Ela Stiles which contrast perfectly with Doyle’s singing. Doyle and Stiles share vocals throughout the rest of the album and “Clouds” shows what they can do when they each have their own lead parts.
The rest of the album blends together in sonic harmony with no weak spots to speak of. It has the rare quality of being able to maintain listener interest throughout the record. “Different Light” and “Out With a Curse” are poppier tracks that allow the more moodier pieces room to exist without making the record overly dreamy.
Yes this will make my Top 25 of 2009, yes it could also be high on the list. This album works as a whole, especially with the trifecta of “Oh No”, “Retreat” and “Clouds”. Oddly enough on an album titled Songs by a band names Songs it’s not so much about the songs but as how they all work together. It’s a debut record that doesn’t strive for hit singles or singular moments of amazement, it looks for greatness as a whole and with that it succeeds.
Check out their website: http://www.songssongs.net/