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Recorded by the band, mixed with Chris Coady (of TV On The Radio, Blonde Redhead, Grizzly Bear and !!! fame) and picking at the darkened Americana heart strings of fellow travelers like Flaming Lips, Mercury Rev, The Shins and Arcade Fire, the Detroit based band have built upon their Spin Magazine "Underground Artist Of The Year" accolade to deliver an album of harmony and wonder. Described as thoughtful, edgy, orchestral and luxuriant, these songs reach gloriously upward: simultaneously immediate and timeless.
Top customer reviews
If I had to choose a personal favorite it would be "Open Up Our Eyes" but songs I recommend one should listen to for a start are "The Axiom", "Pay It Back", and "Black Holes" - Each have great, different music which is something I look for in bands, when each song sounds completely different from the others.
I bought their 1st disc last summer & was pleasantly surprised; it's not a "desert island" disc, but a very good local release. So when I got this release a few months ago, I had high hopes. And I keep playing it, hoping it will "click", but I think instead each time I like it less.
The most obvious problem is the sound quality: it seems very muddy to me, especially in the choruses & "jams". There are 14 contributors plus The Detroit Horns credited here; maybe after 4 musicians on the 1st disc, they were overwhelmed by the extra instruments. The vocals seem to be straining at times to be heard over the din.
Much of that problem is the recording of the drums: it's horrible. In most places, they're just way too loud in the mix, often annoyingly so. The cymbal crashes in particular drown out everything else. If they were trying for a cheapo "garage-y" sound, they got it, but I think it detracts from the proceedings.
And, with a couple exceptions, the songs don't seem as strong either. "Ropes", "The Sun Is Alive" & "The World's Worst Birthday Gift" just sort of lay there. It's as if Josh Epstein decided he preferred chaos this time to good songwriting. Maybe that's what he intended & I'm not getting it (wouldn't be the 1st time): this is his apocalyptic vision of the future of earth. Fine. I still prefer the subtleties of the 1st release.
Two stars for "On Our Way Home", "The Axiom" &, in the drummer's defense, the unusual tempos on "Out Into the Wild" & "Aging Gracefully". I also reserve the right to amend this if I all of a sudden "see the light".