Decorative Branch was recorded in November 2015 in upstate New York. It’s the debut self-titled project from (mostly) Philly-based indie rock band, Decorative Branch.
Songwriter Guy Gibeau says that some songs are seven or eight years old, encompassing a variety of events and emotions that the artist was experiencing when he wrote them.
The project begins with a hit of energy. Acoustic and distorted electric guitars contrast each other on “The Kitchen” where banging drums and complementing vocals really bring the track together. I guessed that the remainder of the album would sound like a mid-00s Broken Social Scene project after this track, but I was pretty off with my prediction.These songs fall under the indie rock umbrella, but a couple acoustic tracks stand as chill outliers. “Collingswood In Wintertime” could fit wonderfully on a Kings Of Convenience project with it’s slow, beautiful illustration of some serene moments of winter.
One of my favorite aspects of this album came on “Great Depression” when Guy and Megan Gouda harmonize every line, but while singing different words. I was surprised to see how well the lyrics meshed together, which goes to show how well this group can evoke emotion through sound, alone, as the lyrics don’t do all the storytelling on Decorative Branch.
“Big Fire” is the boldest track here. I love that the band isn’t afraid to sound like a crowd. The backing vocals that come halfway through the song are goosebump-inducing. I imagined what this would look like in a live performance throughout the entirety of this track. Fans of The Mowglis and Arcade Fire will appreciate this one the most.
There are two elements of Decorative Branch’s sound that characterize this record the most; grace and energy. For me, there was really no predicting what the next song was going to be like. I could listen to some of these on a dark, rainy afternoon, while I could blast others with the top down in the middle of the summer.
Decorative Branch’s indie character is exemplified on this album. The project took only five days to record front-to-back, but the songwriting took years of refining. Perhaps another album will come, whether it be in the near future or far away, to complement this ambitious first record from Decorative Branch.
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