57 of 58 people found the following review helpful
Let me admit upfront that I had not heard this band until I heard their CD played at my local indie record store here in Cincinnati. I was really impressed with the quality of the tracks I heard then, and so I bought the CD. Am I glad I did! The Head and the Heart hail from Seattle, where in 2010 they self-released this debut album. Based on the strong buzz that followed the band shortly thereafter, the album was re-released on the Sub Pop lable in early 2011 (with one new track "River and Roads").
"The Head and the Heart" (10 tracks; 40 min.) finds it roots in folk and Americana, and as such shines. From the opener "Cats and Dogs" the album feels like an old friend that you have come to (re)appreciate. Singers/songwriters Jossiah Johnson and Jonathan Russell are the focal point of the band, with rich and warm voices. They are aptly supported by 4 more band members (bass; piano; violin; and drums). "Down in the Valley" is a pensive tune immediately that reminded me of Ryan Adams "Heartbreaker"-era, and he probably wishes he could write a song like "Down in the Valley" nowadays. "River and Roads" is another dramatic tune, done beautifully. "Honey Come Home" is another favorite track of mine on here, with great lyrics like "I think of all this time we've wasted with our fighting and I cry/I just wanna die with the one I love beside me", wow. "Sounds Like Hallelujah" is one of the more exuberant songs on here. The closer is "Heaven Go Easy On Me", and as the title implies, a perfect way to round out the album.
In all, this is a strong debut album, and at a crisp 40 min., you'll find yourself playing this again and again. I had the opportunity to catch these guys live this past weekend, and they put on a great set, bringing most of the albums's tracks. I think they are probably just living out of a suitcase as I just read they'll be back here again for another show in August. Meanwhile, "The Head and the Heart" is highly recommended!
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on June 8, 2011
Stumbled across this band when I saw the advertising video for this Year's Doe Bay Fest. Very solid album for a premiere album. Like other reviews have said, the album has a cohesive sound, with songs flowing one into another. The sound stays consistent across the album. If you like one of the songs you'll probably like them all. Its hard for me to identify a favorite.
All three main singers have interesting voice and they harmonize frequently. Good melodies, catchy riffs, excellent harmonies are all there. One of the things I like best is the focus of their lyrics, which seem to be mostly on relationships, friendships, family, and longing for meaning in life. This is not another angsty album about lost love, but has more mature and positive themes.
And go see them live. The album doesn't do justice to their live show.
26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on June 5, 2012
My tastes in music do NOT reflect my age. I'm 14, and my favorite bands are Pink Floyd, The Beatles, The Who, Pink Floyd again, etc. Recently, though, I decieded to try and find some GOOD mondern music( No rap, bubblegum, speed metal, or the like). Then I found the Black Keys. I loved it, and they became one of my favorite bands. Then I stumbled across My Morning Jacket. After that, I knew that good music was still being made. But, I still haden't heard anything that was up to par with the music of the 60s, 70s, and EARLY 80s. Then, my Dubstep crazy friend said something I'll never forget: "Hey, based on the music you listen to, I think you'll like this." It was The Head and the Heart, and my love for them began. With James Taylor sounding acoustic riffs, two AMAZING singers(the woman sounds like Joni Mitchell), lyrics with THOUGHT, and the fact that they were powerful without a heavy electric sound, they quickly and easily capured a spot in my brain( and my heart) usually reserved for 70s Rock Giants. Here are my thoughts on each track, Which I HOPE you all take the time to at least Sample:
1. Cats and Dogs- 7/10 The weakest track on the album, but still amazing!!! Other than this, the album is practically flawless. This basically serves as an intro to Coeur D'Alene.
2. Coeur D'Alene- 9/10 I enjoy the soaring first half but its ALL good. This may be the only track where I hear SOME electric guitar. " Oh the things people will do for the ones that thet love "
3. Ghosts- 9.5/10 I feel like this could have been better as a slow acoustic guitar driven song. The lyrics are still powerful, but with that Swing-era sounding piano, it almost sounds Joke-ey.
4. Down in the Valley- 10/10 The 3rd best song on the album. Its about here when this won "album of the decade" for me. The acoustic guitar really shows how much skill this band has. The lyrics may be the most powerful on the whole album. I truely think that this is their signiture tune.
5. Rivers and Roads- 10/10 This song was added after the album was re-released on a Legit label(Sup-Pop). Its here where the female vocalist really shines. She belts out the last note until it slows and softens.A classic concert closer.
6.Honey Come Home- 10/10 This is a classic "Please Forgive Me" song, but it adds so much pure sorrow that its a beast all its own. The happy sounding tune masks the depressive lyrics. Lyrically, its the saddest song on the album. "I just wanna die with the one I love beside me"
7. Lost In My Mind- 10/10 Another song you've probably heard. It may have the catchiest chorus on the whole album. This is another one with THATH all over it.
8. Winter Song- 9.9/10 The female vocalist's other big song. The guitar reminds me of James Taylor. Its also kind of sad. Why did I take away 0.1? I wish it were longer.
9. Sound like Hallelujah- 11/10 The crown jewel of the album. I love the very Gospel-like sound, and I dare all listeners NOT to clap during the Chorus. Its not possible. This strikes of a song about finally believing. If they only recorded this song, their status as one of the best bands ever would still be set in stone.
10- Heaven Go Easy On Me- If any song could come close to topping "Sounds like Hallelujah," its this. I spent a long time trying to decide which was my favorite. Long Story Short, its still very close. The Perfect Album Closer.
In Short, if the Head and the Heart can ever top this album, They truely are the bringers of a new age in music.
I look forward to seeing them live June 30. To shorten this whole review: BUY THE DANG ALBUM ALREADY, and don't miss out on a band with great things in store.
God Bless You,
24 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on January 13, 2011
Discovered this band very recently and haven't been able to get them out of my head. Really catchy with broad sound and great harmonies. They are being talked about all over the place. I've seen articles and reviews grouping them with other awesome musicians like The Avett Brothers, Bon Iver, and Crosby Stills Nash and Young. Look them up! You won't be sorry. Can't wait to see where they go from here.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on October 30, 2010
This album is just one of those albums that sticks to your ribs. Just as soon as you fall into the melodies, it tosses a left hook that is nothing short of a sucker punch, catching you totally off guard and bringing a new layer of pepperminty freshness to an already fresh songs. All in all, its nothing short of a revelation.
I have mentioned to several people that 2010 has fallen unbearably short in amazing music. Sure, there has been a couple quality albums, but only two spectacular (Wakey!Wakey!'s "Almost Everything I'd Wish I'd Said The Last Time I Saw You" & The Tallest Man On Earth's "The Wild Hunt") but overall, the year has been a scattershot of ok. And, not to put pressure on the band, but I put a lot of eggs in their basket to resurrect the year, and so far they exceeded all my expectations. Pick up this album, it is amazing.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on January 20, 2011
I first heard this band when they opened for Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds in Las Vegas in Dec 10 and then again on the 11th 2010.They are amazing live. I immediately got the cd and I havent been able to stop listening to it. I highly recommend this cd.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on May 2, 2011
I first heard of and saw this band in December. They opened for a charity concert by Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds. They rocked that auditorium full of stuffy, older, opera types. I bought their CD on the way out and I've been hooked ever since. I saw them on Friday night here in Seattle and it was by far the best concert I've been to.
The whole album flows so beautifully. When I heard the CD for the first time I had a really hard time differentiating between the tracks. The whole album is so cohesive. Couer D'alene and Ghosts immediately jumped out as being my favorites, but as I got further into the CD I found Sounds Like Hallelujah.
Their lyrics, instrumentals and the harmony of all of them singing - this is an epic band that has much more to give to the music community. Now if only we could convince them to come to The Gorge with Dave Matthew's Carvan in September... :-)
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on October 27, 2010
A good tip drawn from experience is to regularly check the American music blog "I am fuel you are friends" written by Denver music fan Heather Browne who seems to live at gigs and spend most of her time promoting new bands with track records which scream impeccable taste. The Head and Heart are one such outfit out of the former grunge capital Seattle one of America's nicest cities along with neighbouring Portland in Oregon. Before you all groan and utter the words "Fleet Foxes" can I ask you to hold fire for a moment dear reader. It would be foolish not acknowledge some influence but it is not overt or in your face, indeed they have been described elsewhere as the "Avett Brothers leading a midnight reverie with the Rufus Wainwright". Therefore it is appropriate that this is no way more pronounced than in their joyous single "Sounds like Hallelujah" a mix of Okkervil River style harmonies combined with Wainwright like sweet balladry which breaks the song into different constituent parts but which will have you singing like a man/woman processed once it seeps into your brain. Contrast this with the gentle acoustics of "Lost in my mind" and the equally lovely "Winter song" sung beautifully by Josiah Johnson (vocals, guitar, percussion) and Charity Thielen (violin, vocals, percussion) and you can discern more clearly the two main influences that the band cite on their Myspace page namely The Beatles and Crosby Stills Nash and Young who as we know showed considerable promise in their day. As such if you enjoy a heady mix of watertight harmonies, roaring violin, passionate piano and layers of Americana that makes you feel that you may have heard before because frankly it so good, then check out the Head and the Heart.
The other band members are Jon Russell - vocals, guitar, percussion, Kenny Hensley - piano, Tyler Williams - drums and Chris Zasche - bass and fine backing musicians they are. Certainly a couple of the songs are a bit too merry for their own good and at the moment I tend at the moment to skip "Ghosts" and "Coeur D'alene" although I suspect they will both grow and appeal over time. "Down in the valley" alternatively is classic alt country of the sort that Ryan Adams seemed to completely appropriate during those halcyon days that led to the great double album pairing of "Heartbreaker" and "Gold" and is the albums highlight.
The blurb on their album is well written and they warn that "If you love bands drenched in pretence or that keep themselves metaphorically aloof, you'll hate The Head and The Heart. This band is unadulterated joy and boundless hope for the future laid bare in three-part harmonies, bubbling bass lines and warm pop orchestration that embraces you in a full-on hug". As a self description it may appear a little immodest but in fairness The Head and the heart to aim directly with a full frontal appeal to both your pop sensibility and emotions. This debut album is very fine indeed and if you are seeking a new band that engage your brain and your emotions you have reached journeys end.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on May 23, 2011
A happy find while browsing recommendations was The Head and The Heart's self titled LP. Happy find indeed... as this band is melodramatic, uplifting, and mournful all at once. Their melodies are part Death Cab, part Simon and Garfunkel, with a healthy dose of Brian Wilson to boot. Ben Folds would be proud. The songs are beautifully crafted pop rock/alternative/folk and often pack surprises, changing tone and tempo mid-song. I would HIGHLY recommend to anyone who digs the samples to just take a chance and buy this record. An incredible song suite. Qualifies as a rare breed of record - the one you put on and you're never tempted to skip even a single song. Good music always stands up well. Wish these guys would take a trek to the southern states (Austin anyone?).
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on August 23, 2011
Last year Mumford and Sons broke out big - My money is on The Head and the Heart for this year. They have a great sound and that Americana feel that is nice to hear. Catch them on the NPR replay of the Newport Folk festival from this year and you'll be hooked for sure and run right out to buy this album. They do everything from peppy to somber and sound great doing it.