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Thursday, September 01, 2011

Dead Letter Chorus - Yearlings


Following a well-received debut, Dead Letter Chorus return with a sophomore album which continues to show promise from the local folk-popsters

Slow-building opener, Covered By Snow, is an absolutely fantastic start to the record, with the harmonising vocals of Cameron Potts and Gabrielle Huber sounding gorgeous over gentle guitar and piano. Then, at the song's midway point, thumping drums turn something delicate into a real foot-stomping affair. By the time it reaches its crescendo, everything including the kitchen sink is being thrown at proceedings in an Arcade Fire kinda way. It's genuinely stirring stuff. However, it also marks the album's high point.

That's not to say there aren't other strong moments. After the wishy-washy All Mine comes a fun romp in the form of single Run Wild, which, again, sees some fine harmonising over the hand-clappy pop. The song illustrates something of a trend; simply that Dead Letter Chorus are at their best when their vocalists are playing off each other, rather than when one or other takes a back seat. Almost without exception, when either Potts or Huber fly solo, some of the magic is clearly missing. Rather than adding depth or emotion by stripping things back, the slower moments on Yearlings not only meander, but meander slightly towards blandness. The Changing Tides is a clear example of this, with only the powerful grand denouement breathing life into what is otherwise a little uninspiring.

All in all though, there are certainly enough standout moments to make this a very worthwhile outing and to prove that Dead Letter Chorus have potential in abundance.