Another review, another alt. folk, alt. country, Americana influenced album. If each of them sounded alike I could cease, and simply file under derivative, but there is still life in genre yet.
This album successfully hosts these alt. themes but also houses a true folk ethic, heard in the picked banjo of "Obadiah In Oblivion", as well as more straight-up, quiet-loud indie-rock as can be heard on "Peninsula".
Despite being on Sub Pop, the sound often veers more toward Nebraska and the sound of Saddle Creek, but misses the inimitable and identifiable production of Mike Mogis. As such the album sounds a little like a Rilo Kiley release, or one from Azure Ray, but miss the bite that Mogis provides. And so we move to the inevitable, the voice. Sounding like Jenny Lewis or Orenda Fink is no bad thing, heck these gals can sing. However it is a dude called Joel who fronts Death Vessel, and once this is out in the open we can all move past it comfortably.
His impersonation is so uncanny that the singer's gender is not in question until one reads up about the band. Only at the start of "Exploded View" does he resemble a male vocally, and then only at the track's onset. This amounts to a distinctive sound, but one that is not at all detracting. The greatest problem the record faces is whilst being endearing, is sadly not enduring. Not one of the tracks leaves a lasting impression, in the way that say, similar sounding Iron & Wine do. The mix of influences spread the record a little bit thin, which is peculiar for an album that also sounds quite simple and effective.