Credit this Seattle outfit with choosing a moniker that fits
their template completely, one defined by tender emotions tempered by an occasional
clip-clop groove. Heartfelt sentiments are predominant here, but several songs
– “Cats and Dogs,” “Lost in My Mind,” “Coeur d’Alene” and “Ghosts” — shuffle
along at a perky pace despite plaintive pronouncements about life’s
uncertainties and the harsh tangle of heartache. Midway through, the band gets
the delivery and thoughts in sync, and “Down in the Valley” and “Rivers and
Roads” engage these geographical and philosophical bonds with a sadness that’s
Still, despite the fact that a bleaker rumination tends to
win out, this self-titled debut never reaches the depths of depression. Cooing
back-up vocals, poetic lyrics and dramatic twists and turns give the music a
sense of euphoria even when the feelings conveyed become the most stoic and subdued.
Simon and Garfunkel’s Bridge Over
Trouble Waters seems to set a stunning example for the dynamic at work, and
for a band so young, their savvy and sophistication are truly impressive.
“We’re well on our way,” they triumphantly proclaim on the final entry, “Heaven
Go Easy On Me,” and indeed there’s plenty of reason to agree.
in the Valley,” “Lost in My Mind,” “”Coeur d’Alene” LEE ZIMMERMAN