Red Meadow is a three-piece comprised of Elimelech Schmalz (vocals/guitar), Golan Farhi (bass) and Alon Tavory (drums) from Northern Israel that first formed in 2007. A little over a year ago the band released their self-titled debut album Red Meadow, which happens to sound very American. It’s actually not that surprising when I learned the band was originally from the states.
Their album falls under the genre of rock but I would hesitate to call this hard rock (with the exception of a few songs). In addition to infusing some elements of folk, pop and country into the songs there is a warm glow to the album that makes it easy to enjoy. The songs do have more of a mainstream appeal that wouldn't fit in particularly well with the underground.
Although Red Meadow is a three-piece band but that really doesn’t do the band justice. In addition to the three standard elements of bass, drums and guitars the band worked with a number of people to include keyboards, violin, mandolin, flute and more. The songwriting is solid and follows a familiar pop format. There weren’t too many surprises on the album that made me think these guys were reinventing the wheel. That being said there were a number of inspired moments.
There were definitely some songs, which resonated more than others for me. The opener “Woman” was a little too poppy sounding for my liking. It’s arguably the most single worthy song but it didn’t do too much to create a distinct sound for the band. The next song “Over You” has a similar feel but fares better. The first two songs had an acoustic country pop feel.
That starts to change with “Signs” which sounded more like something you would hear from Coldplay or U2. “Dead Man” is a solid song but doesn’t feel related to the previous song. It’s heavy, dripping with distortion and has a distinct southern rock feel. The next track “Black River” is a highlight and does some good rocking out while “I Will Be Free” may have the catchiest chorus on the album. If you only have time for one song I would start with “Lilac Wine.” The flute is pretty incredible. In fact the instrumentation in general is top notch.
There is a problem I’ve seen time and time again with albums that take a long time to make (usually over a year). More often than not the initial concept of the album gets lost, new ideas start rolling in and the songs ultimately don’t meld. I’d have to say Red Meadow has done a better job than most considering how long this album took to keep a flow to the album that felt natural. There were a couple of tracks that did however feel like they may have worked better somewhere else.
The best thing about this album is the diverse instrumentation. I think if the band had kept it to three instruments I wouldn’t have been as intrigued by what I was going to hear next. Red Meadow has some mishaps but not too many. Recommended.
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