Monday, May 21, 2007

Reviews:: Schooner Hold on Too Tight

I will easily admit that I gave Schooner a pass on name alone. Growing up in Halifax, Schooner was the beer of choice for herohill (and if Schooner needs to gets some traction in the indie blog scene, we will sell out for free cases… just sayin’), so seeing the name of the Chapel Hill outfit being one in the same warmed my east coast heart.

After the promise of their first LP - You Forget About Your Heart – I was excited to so the band returning with the follow up on 5440’ or Fight. Hold on Too Tight is nothing if not ambitious. Sixteen songs (well three brief interludes), each of them showcasing the fact that the band relies on a lot of influences, but doesn’t try to force songs into a certain style. Gone are a lot of the Shins-y / Rosebuds style riffs, and in their place is more mature, country winding undertones with nice harmonies. Instead of jangly indie pop, the HoTT uses warm, fuzzy guitars and a Will Sheff slow delivery to set the mood.

It may seem like a big jump, but the band seems comfortable with the change and it flows fairly naturally. The arrangements feature a trunk full of well placed instruments (case in point, the beautiful sounds on one of my favorite tracks Leaving Your Room) and rely more on gradual builds than instant hooks. I think the mix works, and Reid and Kathryn’s double vocals still stand out work well, but on songs like Married, it’s the extra touches (like the distant lap steel) that add the emotion to the song.

The record is well thought out and it’s obvious they took the time to get the sound they wanted on each song. The choral backing of The Pox Family Singers on They Always Do! or the nicely placed chimes on Ladybug add that little push needed to help these songs really pop, despite the slow pace.

This record won’t grab you with a heart thumping kick drum or crunched guitars, but with all the acts trying to use the same routine, it’s refreshing to hear a band looking past the draw of a quick hit and move more towards the lovely, brooding, heart warming depression I prefer to hear.

MP3:: Married
MP3:: Trains and Parades
Web page :: label :: more tracks

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Posted at 2:57 PM by ack :: 0 comments

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