The Tallest Man on Earth // Dark Bird is Home

IMG_7552

Overproduced. That one word seems to sum up the charges being level against “The Tallest Man on Earth” by his, usually, loving fan-base. The former acoustic simplicity has been traded in for a larger instrumental pallet, but my own grievance is directed less toward the arrangement changes and more toward the vocal quality. The grit and gruff of Kristian’s raw voice seems to have been edited out or at least heavily downplayed. Despite all of this…what cannot be compromised by any amount of production is Matsson’s superior skill as a song writer. Track after track keeps this dark bird soaring all the way home. We are allowed to peer into the soul of Kristian through his most personal, honest songwriting to date, and the sight we see is a reflection of ourselves… there is pain and confusion, but also beauty and grace. Like an old forest oak… The Tallest Man on Earth continues to grow ever higher… and even if you don’t like some of his new branches, you cannot deny that his roots are good. His songs grow places for even the darkest of birds, like myself, to call home.

*More Info: Got an album you want us to review? Comment below or email us: HaefsRecordReviews@gmail.com

*Twitter: @record_reviews

*Instagram: @recordreviews

Leon Bridges // Coming Home

IMG_7349

Mr. Leon’s debut album bridges the way back into the rhythm and blues of the ‘ 50s and ’60s… doo-wops included! From wardrobe to voice, Leon is a blast from the past… yet none of it is feigned or forced. His style and song-writing pulsate with authenticity. Whether he sings of love or faith… whether you feel like your sitting on a barstool at a soda jerk counter or in a pew at a tent revival… Mr. Bridges sings with soul that rings true and will make you a believer! His sound and style may seem like a throwback, but something tells me that Leon is actually helping music along the way into a bright future.

*More Info: Got an album you want us to review? Comment below or email us: HaefsRecordReviews@gmail.com

*Twitter: @record_reviews

*Instagram: @recordreviews

Muse // Drones

IMG_7137

Muse wants to be your muse…and everybody else’s. The British trio’s 7th studio offering is a concept album with a message for all the “Big Brother” governments of the world and the drones they’re trying to make out of us all. In a word… “REVOLT!” The album follows a central character on a journey towards revolution after he has witnessed the deadening effect of society on those he cares about. He enters into the system to be an agent of change, but finds that he is changed into a drone himself. Against all odds, he breaks the shackles of 1984 and invites all people to follow him into a new world of liberation. The album concludes with an address and a prayer to the oppressors of our day, namely stating that we will fight, even if it’s a losing fight, because dying while free is better than living as a drone. Although the album’s message is front and center, that doesn’t mean the music takes a backseat. Muse has constructed another rock opera, but with waves of freshness that can take your breath away and wake you up in a sudden-icy-lake-submersion kind of way. The music’s effect is ultimately matched with the goal of the message…to wake us from our deadened drone like state and fight “The State” and it’s oppression. No matter your political leanings or opinions, Muse will sweetly sing you toward a revolution of some kind. Perhaps this album is their way of creating their own drone army and empire? …And therein lies the irony of letting Muse be your muse.

*More Info: Got an album you want us to review? Comment below or email us: HaefsRecordReviews@gmail.com

*Twitter: @record_reviews

*Instagram: @recordreviews

Twin Forks // Twin Forks

IMG_7006

In high school, Chris Carrabba and I had an “on again / off again” relationship via Dashboard Confessional (the truly me band he fronts). Basically, anytime my girlfriend and I were off… Chris and I were on… and whenever my girlfriend and I were on… Chris and I were off. Dashboard was my go to breakup music that I wished I could enjoy even when I wasn’t feeling all confessional. Chris has finally made my musical dreams come true! Enter “Twin Forks,” Carrabba’s venture into the world of folk-rock! Get ready for all the vocal authenticity and lyrical poetry you’d expect from Chris, but thrown in some whistlin, hand-clappin, and (dare I say) foot-stompin folk and you’ve got yourself some fantastic anytime tunes! Twin Forks finally gives me some Chris Carrabba for when I’m happy! Don’t get me wrong, this is not a collection of cheesy-pasted-smile-singles… there’s still a sad tune or two as the band’s first full length album successfully navigates the wide range of real emotional experience. That’s a key part of what makes this first offering from a veteran songwriter, yet newcomer to the folk-rock genre, so solid. Twin Forks has struck a chord with the hearts of many, and they’re emotionally and musically in tune.

*More Info: Got an album you want us to review? Comment below or email us: HaefsRecordReviews@gmail.com

*Twitter: @record_reviews

*Instagram: @recordreviews

Florence + the Machine // How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful

IMG_6960

It’s the third time around for Florence + the Machine… the vocals are Big, the lyrics are Blue, and it’s all Beautiful! The album cover itself prepares you for an encounter with F+M’s most personally piercing work to date. I’m not sure if Florence is staring into my soul or inviting me to stare into her’s… the lyrics make the latter more likely. Every song is addressed to an unidentified “you” (save the last track, “mother,” which is a prayer for help in moving on)… a lost lover being lamented as Welch explores her own heart for answers as to what might have happened. Was it her drinking? Her words? Did she build this relational ship only to wreck it… I mean, what kind of man would live like this and lose? Ultimately, Florence doesn’t care “who fired the gun” that killed this love because everyone has lost… everyone, but us that is! Somehow, breakups continue to produce beautiful music. In the absence of Adele, if you find yourself in need of an amazing breakup album powered by incredible British-Female-Angst… look no further. Florence + the Machine have built an album that sails us into the midst of heartache… and it does anything but wreck!

*More Info: Got an album you want us to review? Email your suggestions to HaefsRecordReviews@gmail.com

*Twitter: @record_reviews

*Instagram: @recordreviews

Lord Huron // Strange Trails

IMG_6699Haunting. That’s the first word that I associate with Lord Huron’s sophomore record “Strange Trails.” Schneider’s vocals are thickly ladened with a unique reverb that turns him into your host guide as your ears wander the paths of love, life, and death. A lyrical storytelling feast, each song, beckons you down another trail (some stranger than others) for a unique experience… yet somehow the album still feels like a cohesive whole… like all its trails are contained in the same forest. There are moments in the 14 tracks that seem to drag a little, but you were beckoned to a strange experience from the get go and that precisely what you will have… strange and yet wonderful. This haunted wood and it’s strange trails do not offer much in the way of hope, but hope was never promised… just a walk into the woods where you may encounter love like ghosts. For this specific experience, Lord Huron proves to be a great ghostly guide.

*More Info: Got an album you want us to review? Email your suggestions to HaefsRecordReviews@gmail.com

*Twitter: @record_reviews

*Instagram: @recordreviews

St. Paul & The Broken Bones // Half The City

IMG_6670

Out of the mud of Muscle Shoals rises a new generation of soul holy enough to deem this voice saintly! The whole band, ironically referred to as “the broken bones,” puts forth a sound that does much more healing than hurting. Saint Paul And The Broken Bones debut album may be entitled “Half The City,” but the WHOLE city is listening! If you’re heart sick for some deep brass, some powerful vocals, and some old school beats of soul…then St Paul is the prescription for your malady. Let the lyrics heal your heart and the tunes mend your bones.

*More Info: Got an album you want us to review? Email your suggestions to HaefsRecordReviews@gmail.com

*Twitter: @record_reviews

*Instagram: @recordreviews