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taking a listen

by Ryan Snyder

reviews of local & state music CDs

 

 

The Lake Isle — Wake Up

Drowned in reverb and driven by swelling melodic structures, the Lake Isle’s five-track EP Wake Up might favor their self-ascribed label of Dream Pop on paper, but its heavy, atmospheric qualities challenges such an ephemeral label. Picture some of Calexico’s mid-career work, like Feast of Wire stripped of its Western elements, and you’ll come closer to arriving at what the Lake Isle has accomplished. Mark Dougherty’s vocals airy vocals convey a sense of abandonment on album opener “Steel Rails,” while the mood shifts into a more confident and optimistic tone with but a slight uptick in key for “Anodyne.”

 

The band makes only small changes from song to song, but the effect on each track’s disposition is substantial. “Wake Up” ebbs the tempo upward only slightly while retaining the same ethereal qualities that, by this point, define the EP, but the difference bridges the divide between Sun Kil Moon and The Smiths.

79/100

The lake Isle will perform at the Garage with Caleb Caudle & the Bayonets and Josh Roberts & the Hinges on Friday.

 

Butterflies — Residual Child

There’s an inherently boyish quality to Butterflies singer and bandleader Josh Kimbrough’s voice, so its understandable that the band’s matu ration process might be a bit of a trial. The Chapel Hill band’s latest Residual Child picks up where Nothing’s Personal left off with the chimey, breezy folk-tinged rock of “Serious Fun” and “Sunday Afternoon,” but it’s not long before the album grows into a more muscular, riff-heavy look into the band’s future. While Kimbrough has always displayed a keen sense of arrangement, here he seems to be mostly unconcerned with the lyrical flow of his songs. Memorable hooks are a rarity, and erratic pacing is the norm from beginning to end, and when there is one it becomes a mantra. Built entirely on a single line, “Goodbye (Like a Stranger Tonight)” is a powerful guitar rocker, though its lack of narrative leaves a too much to the imagination. What it misses lyrically, however, it more than makes up for with interesting instrumentation. “Guitarist’s Theme” segues into “Guitarist” with a catchy phrasing that’s repeated over top of impulsive synth outbursts, while the latter continues to hammer home the album’s prevailing theme of growing up unwillingly. It does get a little weary by “Tired Pose,” but by then it’s firmly established that this is a transitional album, leaving the door open for an entirely new set of themes to be explored in future works. At least we hope.

75/100

Butterflies will perform at Legitimate Business Friday with Braveyoung, Velee, Hidden Lake Park and Pygmy Lush

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