On The Eastern Sea's debut LP, Plague, frontman Matthew Hines' voice is bold and sunny. It's a smoother strain than that of Death Cab for Cutie's Ben Gibbard, but Hines' lyrical concerns are darker hued. Here, the word "plague" is a metaphor for the push/pull of fate vs. free will, powerlessness vs. control. It's a credit to Hines and the band that such weighty concerns don't sink the album. Instead, finely sculpted songs filter indie-pop through warm folk melodies and prog-rock complexities.
Throughout the LP, percussion slowly builds to intricate polyrhythms, to be joined by bright keyboards, finger-picked acoustic guitars and warm, uplifting trumpets. Hines' confessional vocals slide into spoken word on the verses while choruses soar to multi-tracked bliss.
Arrangements alternate open spaces with density as tactile and luxurious as crushed velvet, particularly on the playful alt-folk/Motown mash-up "Wasn't for Love" and the '70s AM radio-pop monster "A Lie." The LP's wary love songs and pensive pop brim with acutely observed details, including "Watch the stray cats under cars/Start and stop like silhouettes."
On the bipolar title track, imagery of wild dogs howling across a frozen lake and birch leaves "rattling on the spine" border on the Nick Cave school of Goth Rock. But the heartfelt melody breathes warmth into the tune, which rises in a crescendo that is both gorgeous and gut wrenching.
With Plague, The Eastern Sea delivers a disc that is tuneful, lush, hypnotic and disturbing. The result is oddly reminiscent of Joni Mitchell's "Court and Spark": Lyrics battling darkness and self-doubt are set to music that is smooth and supremely self-assured.
Tammy Greene had not return one penny of my money or my friends for the…
Jazz Diva cancelled an event at Biltmore and has not issued refunds as they indicated…
What time does Relient K come on? What time does Switchfoot hit the stage?