This album is made in three songs – back to back to back, mid-record tunes that watch this four-piece acoustic crew embrace its chamber rock history in “Hold Your Head Up High” to the new advent for this release which is the incorporation of some simple synth sounds (al a GrandDaddy – Sophtware Slump) on “Eschaton” accompanied by their acoustic menagerie including violin. And “Old Friend,” a short song bridging the gap between the eye-opening pair and leading you back down from the heights to the comparatively mundane.
Beyond these three highlights is a decent record built around soft-edged folk that echoes the Fleet Foxes with a few Radical Face impressions in some musical arrangements (hear the echoing ghost back-ups of “Old-Friend”). On this newest release the band has begun exploring some synth sounds through simple tones that on the first song (“Extralife”) bring back memories of the opening keys of Angels & Airwaves first album while adding dreamy ensemble vocals eliciting not so much excitement as contentment.
In terms of themes, there’s the apocalypse and technology and meditations on the infinite, but rather then giving you the sads it warms the soul. There is a literacy to the lyrics that might have you in a dictionary or looking up a few references, which is always a win. And, the variation in sound with the inclusion of their new-found electronic influence makes the album worth listening to through.
Some is a bit derivative and sounds like filler (or independent radio-friendly fodder) (“Futures,” “Lindisfarne”). And, they have a tendency to lean on their hooks in a few of these weaker songs as well.
But that set of three of “Hold Your Head Up High,” “Eschaton,” and “Old Friend” should be immediately added to any mixes for mood music or contemplation.