Saturday, 16 January 2010
The singer/guitarist of the Pittsburgh band Signal to the Ocean Estate, Caleb (full disclosure: a friend/former co-worker of mine) asked me to do a review of his band’s first full-length, Tunes for the Bird of Chittenden, and I gladly obliged. I’d heard a few of their songs before on their Myspace, but I’d honestly never bothered to explore further for reasons that need no explanation. That’s a shame – this band has the skill, influences, and overall sound to appeal to a HUGE audience. They’ve got Neutral Milk Hotel and Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy on the alt-folk end, straight up rawk hooks and attitude, The Shins’ pop sensibility, and an overarching Tom Waits kind of Americana grit (but with way fewer years and cigarettes on Caleb’s vox). This really isn’t a band to be taken as derivative, though – as with any true artistic endeavor, its whole is more than the sum of its parts, and if you don’t believe me (i.e. you’re sick of hearing all the new folk rock popping up recently), try on “Safety” for size. Not enough? How about “No Place I’d Rather Be”? It’s classy, catchy, road-worn, pretty music, and you can tell they’re having fun. Remember, too, that this is a debut, and as such is an impressively solid base. I’d scope this band if I were y’all. They’ve got a spark.
Personally, it exceeded my preconceived notions by a mile; see, I expected it to be something I’d enjoy. I didn’t expect it to give me goosebumps at all the right moments. Good job.
Now playing: Blitzen Trapper - Sci-Fi Kid