Denver is a city changing shape so rapidly, I feel like it can barely keep up with itself. I have been a few times and every time I witness massive expansion. I really appreciate a local talent like Hound Heart bringing forth such a a strong Americana sound steeped in tradition and what was. I feel like their sound fits Denver's core like a glove. Sure, buildings are going up and the city is changing shape, but the mountains are always there to remind you where you are. I feel like this self-titled album Hound Heart really captures that sentiment of mine.
Kicking it off is "Black River." Right out of the gate I was thrown off my game; there's some kind of unforeseen grungy undertone to this alt Americana tune. Very interesting choices in the treatment of the guitar. This also my first introduction to the vocalists and they are stunning. Two strong, beautiful voices laying down razor sharp lyrics. I respect the production aspect on this. It's a ballsy track all around and I respect the hell out of it.
Getting into the second track "Pay Me No Mind," you get into a more traditional folk sound. Beautiful vocal harmony here explodes at the front of the song that raises the stakes. There is something so truly Americana about the sound on this one that really tugs at the heartstrings. I don't think I have to tell you how hard it is to remind me there are things about this country I am fond of at this particular moment in our history.
Anchored in the third spot is "Wildflowers." This one really holds tight to the traditional sounds of the genres they favor. I did admittedly miss the more modern twists, but it has a charming sweetness. A similar motif was given to the track "Night In Manhattan." Again, a more traditional sound. I was very fond of the lyrics on this one. In fact, it may be my favorite set of words on this album.
Finally there was "Is This It?" I always love that question. The subject matter on this one is a wonderful illustration of love, desire and contemplation. A truly beautiful tune. They played with harmony so carefully here. I got this sense of devotion and strife tugging at one another. I cannot stress how engrossing it is. It tells a story that is honest, human and accepts that sometimes in life there will not be the closure we would like to have. I feel like there is nothing more honest than lack of resolution. It's such an accessible human plight and makes for a great song.
Hound Heart has a natural sprawling beauty sewn into their sound that is as cruel and kind as nature itself. This is the kind of album that could jump start even the coldest, hardest, stone hearts to beat again. You will get more than bang for your buck if you decide to thrown down on these five songs.
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