Boston-bred band Rye Pines are just starting to settle in and get their groove on. Set to release music videos and steady tours with fellow city mate musicians, these East Coast players have a finger on success and are priming the choke. Musically it's an effort in pain and joy intermingling; how the two can be as one. Also, heavy doses of poetry and literacy are woven within the musings. Rye Pines sounds a little like a disgruntled Arcade Fire mixed with Modest Mouse. It is mellow and pretty, country and folk, but all indie. There's a lighthearted laziness in the vocals that often reflects the lilt of the track, moving like slowly pouring honey. Take it easy, take it slow, and then unleash. That's the formula at work here and it's quite exemplified on the first track "Good Health” from A Portrait of Dissonance as a Young Man. "Good Health" keeps the listener engaged with dynamics and unique elements that rise and fall in the background. Underneath it all is a soft pretty acoustic line that falls into place around a minute-and-a-half; like the cooling rain after a humid afternoon.
"Posthumous Fame" has a catchy guitar hook and generally reiterates ideas from "Good Health,” to which I have no problem, as I feel those two tracks may be where this group really hits their stride. It's a little more reserved and padded, but doesn't leave any doubt that it's only waiting to crescendo and break open. Again, that guitar hook is simple but so well placed and mixed.
As it enters with a march and a purpose, the guitar on "Choctaw/ Iroquois" flutters in bursts and then finishes with a head-bobbing groove. Rye Pines really channels some Modest Mouse on this one; the higher than normal bass line and sort of angry vocals with murky guitar tonalities and non-descript chord changes. It's music that will keep you guessing more than give itself away. And that is rare these days. A little oddball track, "Wayward Pensive" holds a timid hook and an introverted sound all around.
Rye Pines isn't trying to be anything it's not. For those that desire a little less salt, little less fat - this band is for you. Just what you need without the filler or unnecessary taste enhancement. A skeleton of rock/folk incarnate. Exception to the moments of riotous emotion and guitar disarray, this album comes and goes like a bored dry wind. Artful yet lost. But you're there to find it. To pick up the work and treat it with respect. It's an aural diary from the heart of a singer/songwriter so really it's about as good as musicianship gets. Faint moments, loud moments, times of dark, times of light. It's all in there – so try it on.
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