The Head and the Heart self titled album review
The American northwest, with Seattle as the epicenter, is quite possibly the musical holy land of the United States. Hailing from these parts are massive bands such as Soundgarden, Pearl Jam and Nirvana, but the northwest isn’t home to only 90′s grunge/rock bands. It is also a huge player in the folk scene with folk superstars Fleet Foxes and Blind Pilot having roots in America’s rainiest state. As of June 2010 Seattle has one more amazing folk group to add to its list, up and comers The Head and the Heart. Having only been a band since 2009 The Head and the Heart have come into great success in a short period of time. They released their self titled debut album in late June of 2010 and within months after the record’s initial release the group signed to Sub Pop Records (who will re-release debut album in 2011) and opened for the spectacular Vampire Weekend. There is only more success to come as word continues to spread about this young band and their stellar debut. In the past few months they have gained more and more notoriety as they tour in support of their album and on April 21st they will make their television debut on Conan. With the increasing exposure it is only a matter of time before this group becomes, not openers, but full fledged headliners.
What drives the songs of The Head and the Heart is passion. Nothing is overly special in arrangement or composition but the vocals, individual and harmonious, are so invigorating that you can’t help but sing along. Don’t get me wrong, the simplicity of the music is in no way inhibiting, but liberating. One of their songs might contain two chords, two chords only, and it could hold its own against the most complex of musical numbers. The zeal of the vocals is injected in the rest of the band and as you hear the pounding of piano and guitar chords, even though it may be simplistic, you can’t turn it off. That fact is proof that this group is something special. A main reason to this quality is that the members have admitted to being a bunch of perfectionists, and the debut album reflects it. Originally intended to be a series of demos to be shopped around to different labels, the band couldn’t stop tweaking the tracks until they were perfect. Once the songs were the way the group wanted them they decided to bypass the demo stage and release a completed album on their own. The perfectionism had the desired effect and thus every song on The Head and the Heart (2010) has an extremely polished feel. It is easy to tell that they worked and worked and worked on these songs, put everything they had into them, resulting in a fantastic collection of ten songs.
The Head and the Heart is by far the best new folk band I heard from last year and with a tour supporting Iron and Wine, as well as a few shows as the main act, their popularity should soar over this summer of 2011. The band continues to write new songs as they tour the States and Europe supporting their debut, a great sign as I cannot wait for another album. Until then, I will have to play their first on repeat and hopefully catch them live this summer.
For a taste of The Head and the Heart check out the videos below!