Most Helpful First | Newest First
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Head and the Heart - Engage your brain and your emotions,
This review is from: The Head and the Heart (MP3 Download)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.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good album of folk-rock but the songs sound too similar to each other,
This review is from: The Head and The Heart (Audio CD)I was in a music shop when the cover of this album leapt off the shelf and punched me in the face. It was so strange and distinctive looking. Having never heard of the band before I decided it was too intriguing to leave it behind. I bought it exclusively on the strength of that artwork.
It turned out to be a very wise purchase. This 39 minute album of folk-rock is rather good. Their basic sound is melodic, easy to enjoy and mostly up-tempo. They don't try your patience and aren't too folkie.
The downside is that it's maybe too consistent sounding for its own good. There is a samey quality to much of it. The songs can get lost in the sameness of it all and struggle to standout from each other. The music works a bit better on shuffle than as a continuous album listen, as it does become a bit of a one note experience. Also the male singer has little range so a lot of his performances sound the same.
1. Cats And Dogs 1:56 (7 out of 10 stars)
A good bright, bouncy tune with slightly sad sounding vocals. Piano and drums are the most prominent instruments.
2. Coeur D'Alene 4:22 (7 out of 10 stars)
The piano totally dominates musically. The vocals are extremely melodic - the sort of thing you can sing along to.
3. Ghosts 4:19 (8 out of 10 stars)
The vocals are more stylised, and very good. The lyrics are morose. Piano is the most dominant instrument. This is the best song on the album.
4. Down In The Valley 5:04 (6 out of 10 stars)
Mid-paced folk ballad. At first it seems quite stripped down, but it's a full band performance with a lot of space left over to let the vocals take centre stage. The lyrics are okay but not as good as on the previous songs. It swells up and gets loud towards the end. It's a decent song though I find it hard to get excited by it.
5. Rivers And Roads 4:44 (5 out of 10 stars)
Alternates between quiet, slow passages and louder, up-tempo rock sections. A female singer performs some of the lines along with the usual male vocalist. The lyrics seem a bit meaningless, and may have been picked for simply sounding good. An average song.
6. Honey Come Home 3:21 (7 out of 10 stars)
Good song with a very good set of lyrics.
7. Lost In My Mind 4:19 (7 out of 10 stars)
The good bits sound great.
8. Winter Song 2:44 (4 out of 10 stars)
Mid-tempo and slightly stripped back. The female vocalist shares the song with the male singer. I found it to be rather banal and indifferent.
9. Sounds Like Hallelujah 3:10 (7 out of 10 stars)
Sounds like a big song. Lyrically it doesn't really go anywhere.
10. Heaven Go Easy On Me 5:40 (6 out of 10 stars)
Sounds good but it doesn't seem to be about much.
I like to make EP playlists out of some albums for my iPod. Tracks 2, 3, 6 and 7 made the cut.
Overall 7 out of 10 stars.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A new band in the panoply of Americana,
This review is from: The Head and The Heart (Audio CD)I took a punt on this when it came up in `Recommended for you', this is the debut album from Seattle six piece `The Head and the Heart. I have been listening to it for a while now and it has all finally come together and that is in a good way.
They are firmly placed in the Americana tradition, with obvious influences like Crosby, Stills and Nash, but with modern influences creeping in. I think `Red on Black' said in the other review that this is like Okkervil River meets Rufus Wainright and I must whole heartedly concur. It has a mood in itself that starts a bit edgy and one could say flippant with `Cats and Dogs' (actually features a miaow and a bark) and then gets more serious as the album progresses.
For me stand out tracks are 'Rivers and Roads' with some lovely harmonies and distinct clear delivery which makes it sound like it was recorded in one hit. `Winter Song' and `Heaven go easy on me', the latter being one of those that I don't feel I will get bored with.
A quick word on the sleeve, there are virtually no sleeve notes or lyric sheet etc. It does have some interesting art, but this is one where if you get it as a download you are not missing out on very much. The only way you would miss out is by not getting it at all and miss the start of what I hope will be a long and fruitful career.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars don't judge an album by its cover,
This review is from: The Head and The Heart (Audio CD)Being a fan of various types of music I was a little unsure what to expect from this album when it appeared in my amazon's 'recommendations' as the sheep mask made me thinks weird heavy metal... I looked them up on youtube expecting my speakers to be blown by a horrific din... and instead discovered a band capable of true beauty! Indie/folk in style with a light pop edge they are really good! Best thing to do is look them up on youtube and judge for yourself. You won't regret it. If you think maybe Damien Rice or Bon Ivor or Laura Marling then you know what to expect. Good album.
5.0 out of 5 stars wonderfully crafted album,
This review is from: The Head and The Heart (Audio CD)some great songs on this album i loved honey come home one of my all time favourite songs a nice folk sound
5.0 out of 5 stars Great album,
This review is from: The Head and The Heart (Audio CD) (Audio CD)Currently my most played album, this band really has some talent! Looking forward to their second album later this year
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Album,
This review is from: The Head And The Heart (MP3 Download)I bought this on the recommendation of my son and it reminds me of the Bonzo Dog Doo-da Band with some unusual instruments. It is an unusual sound - a bit Vaudeville and I love it.
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic new band,
This review is from: The Head and The Heart (Audio CD)Loved it from the first listen, great tunes, well played and great voices. If you like Of Monsters and Men, you'll love this too
5.0 out of 5 stars This is Great!,
This review is from: The Head and The Heart (Audio CD)its a bit like Mumford & sons crossed with of monsters and men (but im sure some will disagree with me) either way an excellent album
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Discovery of 2012,
This review is from: The Head and The Heart (Audio CD) (Audio CD)The first time I've heard this band on a TV show I fell in love.
They are unique, warm, intriguing.
This is the best debut album I've bought in 2012.
The Head and the Heart are a band we'll heard a lot of.
Most Helpful First | Newest First