Monday, November 22, 2010

bringing the sun

Family Tree - Lohio

I've been housebound for days, while the north wind whips the snow across glassy roads and the mercury plummets to -22C. It's pitch black by 5:00. Days like these, you need an escape.

I found it in Family Tree, the new EP by Pittsburgh's Lohio, a quartet that somehow manages to come across like a vast musical army. The comparisons are inevitable - the breeziness of Sufjan Stevens, the symphonic sensibilities of the Polyphonic Spree, the grandeur of Arcade Fire, with touches of Wilco's experimentation.

It all makes for an exuberant blast of musical sunshine. Yet with discordant fuzziness playing off against spritely pianos, complex lyrics belying effervescent harmonies, the five tracks on Family Tree are no mere beach music.

The lead track, Leave The City, Leave Your Room, may burst forth with the bounciness of an offering from I'm From Barcelona (minus the annoyance), but it soon becomes evident that this music has considerable legs. One minute I am breezing down the highway with the wind in my hair listening to the title track, the next I am lost in a masterful guitar riff that morphs into a band camp chorus and a splendidly cacophonous finale in Wind and Leaves. The military tattoo drum arrangement on Adelai belies the breeziness of the boy-girl harmonies and the plunky piano, questioning whether the wolves are coming after them. The gentle sombre beauty of the final track, Funeral Song, provides a solid counterpoint to the overall pop sensibility.

Family Tree is an solidly satisfying album, an unexpected melding of influences that manifests in a strangely addictive sound. I want more.


bloody awful poetry said...

You had me at "grandeur of Arcade Fire". I'm a sucker for the grandeur. I've heard many good things about these guys over the last few weeks and intend to stream the EP on Bandcamp soon.

Toccata said...

I'm trying to wrap my head around a band that can actually embody Sufjan Stevens, Wilco and Arcade Fire all at once. I'll have to give it a whirl.

Have no idea why but this post makes me want to go listen to some Patrick Watson.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I'm impressed that you have been hearing the buzz about Lohio, BAP, as I have been hearing surprisingly little. Maybe I have had my ear to the wrong wall. Do check them out though!

Probably because I have been tossing all these names at you, Toccata. I'd be interested to hear what you think of Lohio. Definitely a unique (yet strangely familiar) sound/

Anonymous said...

Can't comment on the music under discussion but the weather there I gather from reading your posts is pretty wicked and typical I suppose. Here disappointingly balmy, I'm still wearing flops often, have daisies and roses still blooming, and a rhodie trying to open. Plenty of leaves still hanging on the oaks albeit red and brown. Enjoy!

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Oddly, I still have lots of red leaves hanging onto my Mountain Ash as well, Leazwell.