The Alibis consist of Eric Quigley and Daniel Robbins, a dynamic duo armed with a folk sound that is both dreamy and hard. First off, this is not their first rodeo going through the Divide & Conquer review process as they have done so with other bands. I want to take a moment to welcome and thank them for coming back for their latest album Bloom. I gotta say, this one is a real charmer. It has the effect of a good sip of bourbon. It warms you, inside and out.
This album wraps you in a cozy swath of acoustic strings - guitar, banjo, mandolin. They layer these different threads on top of one another and they result is an elaborate and deeply expressive fabric. That's just on an instrumental level. I haven't gotten to the lyrics and vocal work. I think as vocalists their experience with other groups shines through immediately on this album. Conveying a performance through a recording takes skill, and these two have it in spades. They are fearless in delivering these lyrics that are vulnerable, tender and sincere. The words here are very powerful. Again, so much human element in here.
Quigley and Robbins have a background in rock as front men, and there is a definite vein in this album where they let that streak of lightning show. "Waiting Wings" is one of my favorites when it comes to honing in on that sound. It comes off as a bluesy, hard rock folk jam that really works. However this album is a bit dichotomous in that there is a much softer, dreamier side. The opening track "To Stay" is as delicate as a fluttering butterfly wing, and it almost fell under some sort of shoegaze form of folk. In all honesty I like these two best when they move away from more traditional sounding and enter into experimental zones. Luckily most of the songs seemed to find an interesting twist on the genre. I like that this album has many faces. It makes it very human.
Recording and production for this album was a process involving few frills, and more so showcasing the craftsmanship. When it comes to these two, anything you can pick or pluck, I am confident in classifying them as craftsmen. I feel like the magic was really in the mixing on this one. The richness of all these instruments was well laid against the vocals and they found that star quality balance. Well done.
I saved one of my favorite facts for last which is these two are right here in Chicago. Oh yes, once again I am spoiled rotten by my local music scene being full of so much talent. I love that a strong folk sound like this would come from my neck of the woods. Chicago sits on a crossroads for so many different perspectives. I think this album helps round out that notion. Folk fans will be on board, however to my folk leaning indie rock fans, give it a go. I think it might surprise you. Good luck to The Alibis. I would jump on a live show like a rabid tiger.
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