Thursday, June 16, 2011

Album Review: "Loud Planes Fly Low" by The Rosebuds

Loud Planes Fly Low was released by The Rosebuds
on Merge Records on June 7, 2011
The Rosebuds have made a name for themselves as one of the most consistently great bands in the North Carolina scene and with Loud Planes Fly Low the band has released their most accessible and arguably best record yet.  The Rosebuds founding members Ivan Howard and Kelly Crisp were recently divorced and while it's clear that the evolution of this relationship was very pertinent in this record, it certainly doesn't fuel it and the band doesn't use it as a gimmick to get attention.  All of it seems incredibly sincere and at times it's almost off putting at how personal the lyrics can sound.  They've truly honed their sound and given themselves that extra bit of "umph" that I personally needed to really become absolved with the bands.  Loud Planes Fly Low feels like it's got much more direction and that they've really found out the perfect way to convey the image they wanted to.  It's a record of rebirth in a unique sense, the rebirth of a relationship after its dissolution.

This album has got an incredible focus on this relationship because regardless of how much they dance around avoiding the blame-game, the two very clearly display their take on how they were affected by this event.  Hearing the opening lines of "Go ahead and be my world" as they're delicately crooned out from Ivan Howard's mouth is what first gave me the indication that this album would be a treat, and it's not very often that you get that vibe from the first track.  Though it's lined with melancholy lyrics the band does an excellent job at not just sticking to minor keys and somber melodies, it's all very adventurous in terms of layering and textures with harmonies and instrumentation as well.  The band has an excellent grasp on when each vocalist needs to chime in as well, the album isn't plagued with harmonies just for the hell of it or call and response vocals either.  Allowing Ivan and Kelly to have their own shining moments on the album is an excellent method that helped give the record much more definition.

While the band does display some incredibly encompassing musical moments with layers of strings, horns, and harmonies, some of the best moments come with the bare-boned parts like when Ivan sings on "Without A Focus".  "I don't know how I am supposed to feel/Without a focus", Ivan has a heartbreaking quality in his voice, it's filled with soul and filled with emotion that only intensifies throughout the song.  "Without A Focus" is an excellent focal point of the album, it's got bright moments with just guitar and vocals but it begins to take form and fly as the other layers begin to pop up throughout the song.  This album is filled with gems like that, songs that don't just have one big exploding point aurally but rather build into powerhouses gradually.

The album has an excellent lyrical focus, every word has meaning and none of it feels like filler just to get you through.  Tracks like "Woods" are standouts not only for lyrical quality but because of how damn catchy and downright awesome it is.  There's no beating around the bush, this is a great album that marks a new direction for The Rosebuds in many senses.  Ivan and Kelly have an ever-evolving relationship and that is evidenced by the ever-evolving sound of the band as well.  I'm incredibly intrigued to hear what they do from here, there's many elements of soul and R&B in many of Ivan's vocals that would be incredibly interesting to hear expanded upon with The Rosebuds' sound.  This is one of my standout albums of the year for Carolina releases, just an all around enjoyable listen that's got a lot of replayability.  It's worth more than a listen, it's worth checking them out when they come back through on July 29 at Raleigh Amphitheater with Bon Iver because it's going to be an absolutely mind boggling show.

No comments:

Post a Comment