Wichita, KS is where Coriander calls home. Matt Hamer (vocals/guitars), Ryan Stoldt (bass), Michael Engdahl (guitar), Adam Lutes (drums) and Marit Hellman (keys) joined forces in 2013 for what they knew to be a special culmination of music, drawing on a variety of influences from folk to country, and jazz to pop. Old Invitations is comprised mostly of songs about lead vocalist Matt Hamer’s first marriage and the trials and tribulations therein. There’s nothing quite like an experience of loss to motivate our best work especially lyrically.
“The Blue Hour” is a little light at first listen and possibly a touch over balanced, but it has a sophomoric quality to it and the lyrics are right on. The song is moving forward with the repetitive snares and chugging fret strokes. Some interesting drum choices became a little distracting. I want more of the soft reverberations to grow present. And with the gradual blossoming of refrain, the guitar noodles in complement – nothing has really hit the fan yet. A crash cymbal, some grating feedback, end scene. I shake my head at that closing. But we’re off to a good start nonetheless.
The track “Synesthesia” is as attractive as the name. Tasting colors is something we’d all like to experience. This song delivers nothing like that, but that’s the title and they’re sticking to it. It sweeps gently in a jazzy 3/4 with pastoral cheer. "Dear Gomer" is a highlight revolving around acoustic guitars, brush work on the snare and some of the most infectious vocal melodies on the album. The song spews with an organic, live quality that creates a kinetic energy that is hard not to be enjoyed.
The final track seems fashioned in ode to twitter posts and hash tags. “Sojourneyonsojourner” is stripped and strange. These melodies and structures are tied loosely and left quite naked considering the lack of production. And when the oboe brings it home you have to just laugh. Kudos for being weird Coriander. Someone has to be.
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