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.