“Indie Folk” May Have Another Standout Star
Popular Indie Folk might have seemed like a bit of oxymoron ten years ago, but today it seems like it may be quickly becoming a stable of the Top 40 charts. Bands like The Lumineers and Mumford & Sons reached as high number 2 and 1 respectively on the Billboard 200. Years ago The Head and Heart may have been subject to a fate similar to bands like The Avett Brothers, who spent years toiling, releasing album after album only now beginning to get widespread recognition. It seems that The Head and the Heart might just be in the right place and the right time for their blend of folky harmonization to truly hit it big.
When they released their debut, self-titled album in 2011 there was no anticipation as they were relatively unknown. This time, though, things are different. After their surprising first album they have gained a substantial fan base who are no doubt excited to hear their follow up effort. This brings me to said follow up, Let’s Be Still, which will leave any loyal fan, and I’m sure many new fans, more than satisfied.
The Head and the Heart features three main vocalists; Jonathon Russell, Josiah Johnson, and Charity Rose Thielen. If one thing sticks out about this album over their first, it’s the voice of Thielen. The one complaint that I have of this record is the fact that she is only heavily featured in two songs, “Summertime” and “These Days are Numbered”. These songs really standout on the album because of Theilen’s crooning voice that somehow makes you feel like you are listening to a private coffee shop show. This album also continues their trend of harmonization that they established on the first record, trading back and forth seamlessly between Johnson and Russell on several tracks.
I would be willing to put some money, not too much as I am a broke college student, that there are at least a few songs off Let’s Be Still that will I will certainly become sick of. Not because they are fleeting but because I believe they will be overplayed or featured in numerous advertisements, in the style of “Ho Hey”. The single, “Shake” as well as the catchy title track, “Let’s Be Still” definitely have this crossover potential.
There are some gems on Let’s Be Still that will satisfy those who want to keep something for themselves and out of the spotlight of heavy radio play. “Cruel” can’t help but remind me of a song somewhere between The Avett Brothers “I and Love and You” and “Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise” with its beautiful use of piano and harmony.
For those who like to be the music fans who can say things like, “I knew them way before they were popular” your time to legitimately say this about The Head and the Heart is dwindling quickly. For those of you who just want to hear a quality album then it may be time to jump on this band’s bandwagon, because there are many more hits to come.