Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Lone Bellow: "Then Came The Morning" (album review)

With their self-titled 2013 debut album, The Lone Bellow blew the doors off my musical world.  I'm not sure there's been a band since who have made such an instant impact on me, both on record and in person.

On January 27th they return with their sophomore record Then Came The Morning.

It's hard to live up to a masterpiece (yeah, I'll say it) like the first album, but fans of the band will not be disappointed by the soulful melodic Americana of the new record.

All the elements that endeared the band to fans the first time out are present once again.  "Fake Roses" has that mellow twang.  The vocal harmonies, like Fleet Foxes with the bonus of a female vocal in the mix, are irresistible on "Call To War".  The Gospel-infused roots of "Diners" is transcendent.

The band have the uncanny knack of giving birth to songs that have gravitas without falling into the trap of being self-important.    With it's booming, imposing chorus, "Take My Love" is such a song, almost daring the listener to obey the order.  The album opens with the stellar title track.  The song sounds just like the break of dawn alluded to in the name.  You can feel the spiritual aspect of that.

There are no shortage of introspective moments on Then Came The Morning.  Sometimes they come stripped down like "Telluride", other times they arrive a little more ornately as with the twangy lament "Watch Over Us".  In either instance they come in an incredibly organic dressing.

The group surprise with the up tempo "Heaven Don't Call Me Home".  It's a hard country guitar rock song that will get the toes tapping and the head bopping.  It's toned down a bit for the following "If You Don't Love Me", but the song still contains some of the group's most lively guitar work.

Then Came The Morning is an effort that shows that the sophomore jinx can be overcome with a little bit of talent and hard work.

The Lone Bellow play the Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto on February 27th.

Best tracks: "Take My Love", "Call To War"

Track listing for Then Came The Morning:

  • Then Came The Morning
  • Fake Roses
  • Marietta
  • Take My Love
  • Call To War
  • Watch Over Us
  • Diners
  • Heaven Don't Call Me Home
  • If You Don't Love Me
  • Telluride
  • To the Woods
  • Cold As It Is
  • I Let You Go

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