The Head and the Heart: The Head and the Heart - review


This Seattle band managed to sell 10,000 copies of their self-funded debut, presumably by adding one part Fleet Foxes-type harmonies and rural concerns to four parts Mumford & Sons tambourine-bashing jollity. Rereleased with extra tracks, it's unarguably uplifting, chest- and piano-thumping stuff, although the formula has more than a whiff of calculation, with nostalgia-tugging tales of devotion, valleys, railroads, "rivers of whiskey" and a recurring sense of going back, whether to roots or former lovers. However, moments of delicate introspection such as Winter Song and Josh McBride (from their Chapel Sessions) aside, their straining for both authenticity and jollity can bring to mind people knocking on your door wielding pamphlets. On Honey Come Home, Josiah Johnson urges an estranged lover to come back because, "I just wanna die with the one I love beside me," with a glee that, like much else here, doesn't quite ring true.


Dave Simpson

The GuardianTramp

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