Album: The Head and the Heart
Label: Sub Pop
It was bound to happen. What with all of the recent mainstream success of folk-rock acts like Fleet Foxes and Mumford and Sons, it was only a matter of time before other similar sounding groups began to emerge from musical obscurity. Enter Seattle, Washington’s The Head and the Heart, an indie-folk rock band with a pop and country twist.
Originally released independently in 2010, the re-released self-titled LP follows the folk blueprint to a tee. But that’s not to say that it isn’t brimming with quaint, heartfelt tranquility.
In fact, The Head and the Heart’s debut album is actually quite enjoyable. Though it’s not overly challenging, the LP is quirky and endearing.
Buoyed by a simplistic minimalism, the album invokes contrarian themes of loneliness and connection. Sharing vocal duties, Jon Russell and Josiah Johnson communicate an innocence sparked by tenderness but punctuated with fragility. There is unease at the heart of this album, and the LP’s sorrowful nature is consistently at odds with the optimism striving to endure.
“Ghosts” is bouncy and spirited with a Ben Folds Five vibe, while “Down in the Valley” transitions from a weeping, melancholic ballad into an exuberant exploration of hope.
Sadly, the primary drawback of the LP really has nothing to do with the album itself. Instead, it seems to have more to do with folk music’s recent mainstream oversaturation. Jeopardizing originality and talent, this issue always tends to undermine honest intentions by bands like The Head and the Heart in their struggle to achieve success through sheer perseverance.