The Michigan based band Less Is More comprised of Jane Finkel and Brian Spencer has been playing music for about two years now. In August of last year the duo released their first album entitled Amid The Flowers. The seven songs are acoustic based folk/alternative songs that are anchored by their vocal work.
It’s not a foreign concept to have emotionally charged male and female leads coalesce on top of acoustic instrumentation; in fact we review these archetypes quite often here at The Equal Ground. Less Is More currently doesn’t have many striking unique traits that separate them from the flock but they do what they do better than a majority of them.
What they do well is not only sing but know when to sing. As I was listening to Amid The Flowers I was initially most impressed about how they strategically implemented their vocal duties. It was different song to song and is ultimately what made the album an enjoyable listen from beginning to end. Changing leads from song to song is expected but the innate instinct to combine harmonies, switch lead parts from measure to measure or even have it mixed differently from song to song created enough diversity to keeps things interesting.
Production wise everything sounds good except there were some issues in regards to overall volume, which should have been taken care of in the mastering process. The first song is a good 3 - 4 dbs less than some of the other songs. Despite the volume difference the first song “Maybe We’ll Die” shouldn’t be passed up. The song revolves around an acoustic guitar, a couple of handclaps and some exceptional vocal work.
Finkel and Spencer harmonize the whole time and I thought it was a good song to start with as it not only showcases their individual voices but shows that their voices also sound good when joined. The song feels upbeat and combines with motivational lyrics. They sing, “A heart is just some flesh and blood. We’ll do with it what anyone could. Tired of “should,” don’t cut us down. Our misfit youth was our good fit truth, All along. But if everything, falls down. I’ll pick you up.”
The second track “Montana” is a gorgeous melancholy song that revolves around Finkel’s vocals. I especially loved the string work on this track but her emotionally resonant vocals are just as enjoyable. Finkel showcases her dynamic range on this track. Great stuff.
The steady kick drum and handclaps create a festive vibe on “Seesaws and Skyscraper” while “Pave This Road” put Spencer’s vocals front and center. They close with “Song For You,” which is the only song that puts a piano at the instrumental focal point. A solid closer implying that they may diversify with their future releases.
Overall, Amid The Flowers is a success. It’s not without some flaws but it is a very strong debut. Recommended.
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