Thursday, February 8, 2007

The Shot Heard 'Round the World

The Brooklyn-based folk-rock band The Shot Heard 'Round the World has assembled its debut album, and it's the sort of modest pleasure that you refuse to lavish superlatives upon, until a week later you realize you've already listened to it twenty times and that has to mean something good. So put away that snobbery toward the modest: this is a wonderful album. Ten Songs for Town and Country reminds one of the early recordings of that other Brooklyn folk band you love (or should), The Essex Green, mainly for its devotion to the countryside, rivers, mountains, and prairie, while dabbling in the aural experimentation and quick changes in tempo and style that indicate a restlessness more akin to Arthur Lee--by way of Belle and Sebastian, as you won't find much fury or cynicism here. Recorded in "a cabin in rural Vermont," this is a pretty low-fi album, and at times relaxes back into simple, lovely piano instrumentals, but it's packed with delirious melodies that circle like leaves kicked up by a strong wind. Songwriters J. Alexander Farrill and Timothy Miles Bean have assembled some sublime mood pieces--eleven of them actually. "Casseopeia" twinkles like the constellation it invokes in its chorus, but with the simple, eloquent imagery of faces lit by lightning bugs. "Darker, Darker," with its mournful violin, strikes the only downcast note in an otherwise openly joyful album--but it's strident and sophisticated. My particular favorite of the lot is "Dead on Night," which pairs the quivering vocals with a background of soft, squealing feedback before bursting into an open sky of trombone and clarinet. It's not an album that's meant to change the world, but describes its own, and with the sort of detail and beauty that speaks to a real talent in the making. It's out on the fledgling Mountain Landis label.

The Shot Heard 'Round the World - Dead on Night

The Shot Heard 'Round the World on MySpace
The Shot Heard 'Round the World Official Site

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