Good music comes from the heart – and Midwest band Linwood’s Closer to Clear definitely embodies that sentiment. There’s simply no substitute for the sheer soul behind every vocal note, the power behind each riff and the delicacy used to weave it all together through 13 stories – or songs, rather.
I was caught off guard by the classic hard rock feel of “Poison,” the first song on the album. It evolved slowly, moving gracefully from an elegant piano twinkle before being joined by harsher guitars and a clear, perfectly midrange voice. This classic tone reappears on various songs throughout the album; “Breath of Rain,” with its sumptuous ending riff, is another great song, as was “OK.” There were some slightly poppy leanings here, too, served up with a nice helping of ambience. “Hidden Things” utilized a pretty cool vocal “riff,” if you will, as a major part of the rhythm along with more pronounced bass. The opening verse of “Pixels” sounded strongly like an homage to Neon Trees, but the song very quickly developed a very different tone and direction with the chorus.
On the other hand, there are some slower and deeper songs to be found, as well. “Sleep” eases you into this new mood; it still rocks pretty hard but is more light and airy. “Landslide” has a very introspective feel to it. I can see why “Closer to Clear” is the title track; it is a song that’s every element of what makes the band’s sound so unique and makes that the forefront of the song. “Austin Road,” the closer, is both heavy and catchy at the same time, creating a very alternative vibe. This was a great song to end the album with as it left me wanting to hear what was coming next – I suppose I’ll be waiting for the next release to find that out!
While there is no doubt that every song in itself is nicely written, I found that a few of them were very similar in nature and sound and probably could have been saved for an EP or a different LP. That being said, the album is still well organized and makes great use of up and down tempos to add some spice to the album and keep the interest level high.
There are fast songs, slow songs and everything in between; harsher vocals and smoother vocals, simpler riffs and “oh my goodness that’s awesome” riffs, which makes this the kind of album that could appeal to a wide audience all at one time. There is something for everyone to enjoy, particularly when you factor in the added element of good songwriting. I think this is a great full-length album from Linwood and I look forward to seeing what else the band will have to offer in the future!
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