Hey Marseilles – [Album]

Monday, 29 July 2013

Just as the Mountain Goats and Patrick Watson did before them, Hey Marseilles have emerged wearing their theatrical persona front and center on Lines We Trace – the band's sophomore album. This time, the elements of theater and drama which were only just implied on the band's debut album are pressed to the forefront of their sound proudly for all to see from the moment “Tides” introduces the album and runs unchecked until “Demain” closes it. This time, singer Matt Bishop projects his voice grandly against the backdrops sewn together by violist Jacob Anderson, cellist Sam Anderson, guitarist Nick Ward, keyboardist Philip Kobernik and drummer Colin Ritchey, and (now with a better grasp of arrangement) they let him through with a wide berth and still don't sound crowded in the mix. This time the band's sort of classic/rootsy cross sounds more solid and anthemic than just cutesy and novel, as it did previously. This time they're ready to meet the listeners who had their interest piqued when they heard the band's debut, and show them how much they've improved since then. This is the album Hey Marseilles needed to release in order to win the hearts of listeners and make them believe in the promise that the band's debut implied.

…And yes, anyone who hears even one song from Lines We Trace will believe. Stories about fantastic voyages both charted and uncharted/unplanned characterize each of the dozen songs on Lines We Trace and, while almost dreamlike in their lack of specific direction, each is marked by bright tonal colors and exciting images which are implied but only seen hazily. The results are a trip which really has to be heard to be believed. Songs including “Madrona,” “Elegy,” “Dead Of Night,” “Heart Beats” and “Hold Your Head” run a gamut of emotional distance ranging from excitement to longing to astonishment, to whispered shock to simply enjoying a calm pause, and listeners will just get swept away by the ease with which the turns come. Jaws will drop as each song establishes itself as something completely separate from each of the others on the album, and the effortless way in which the band just inhabits each, and then just moves smoothly to the next.

By the time “Demain” gently eases listeners out of Lines We Trace, they'll be absolutely exhausted. Over the span of a dozen songs, Hey Marseilles will have listeners feeling as though they just went around the world with the band and, while the journey was beautiful, they'll need to rest. The band, on the other hand, seems like they still have more in them; they could go again, and that remaining energy is the last thing listeners will feel at album's end. That's exciting in and of itself, and listeners (well, at least this listener) will be curious to see where their next release lands this band.


Hey Marseilles – Fuel Friends Chapel Session[EP]
Hey Marseilles – Lines We Trace – "Madrona" – [mp3]

Lines We Trace
is out now. Buy it here on Amazon .

Comments are closed.