Reviews

Old Blood

Author: Jeff
04/29/2002 | Delusions of Adequqacy | Album Review
Coming out from under the moniker of Lullaby for the Working Class, Ted Stevens has become a full-time member of Cursive and has backed up other bands including Bright Eyes, Azure Ray, and The Good Life. Now he's back with members of Lullaby, but instead they've taken the moniker Mayday, named after a concert Ted and friends have given every year on May 1. There is no explanation why this isn't another Lullaby for the Working Class album, but fans of that band will definitely not be disappointed here.

The music on Old Blood is downright beautiful. Stevens has a strong if mellow voice, and backed by an assortment of musicians, the music here is quite spectacular. The instrumentation here is vast, including acoustic guitars, strings, banjo, tympani, organ, piano, and more. The style is similar to Lullaby, but I get more of a traditional folk feel to these songs, not obvious but present in the underlying structure. The vocals make the album, however, as they're given a depth and beauty that's uncommon, accompanying the mellow yet moody indie rock perfectly.

The opening "Cinquefoils" is probably my favorite track on the album. Filled with light drumming, bits of bells and banjo and other assorted instruments, if has a lovely flow and depth, something many other of this style of indie-rockers lack. Stevens' vocals, and guest female vocals, fill out the starkly beautiful "Come Home." On the moody "Captain," Stevens' voice takes on an Irish feel, giving the song a traditional folk feel from that country that's quite interesting. The band continues to mix up the dynamic with the slow-core feel of "Tone/Atone/Atonal."

Soft and dreamy, "I Know Moonlight" is the lullaby of the album, while "Confession" is something of a lounge meets bossa nova feel, the kind of thing you'd expect dancers to be swaying and tapping castanets to. Odd, but it fits here nicely, and the eerie keyboard just adds to the ambience. Along those lines, "Pilot" is all about ambience, as Stevens sings over an acoustic guitar and soft washes of keyboard ambience, and strings and banjo float in to fill out the song. And the lengthy "Temple/Temporary/Extempore/Temp" finishes things off quite beautifully, taking its time to develop with strings and various guitars, picking up with a jazzy feel that reminds me of Karate.

There are also two songs hidden before the first track on this release, but since I can only play them on my home stereo, it seems rather pointless, as they're easily as good as any of the regular tracks. That aside, this whole album takes a new approach to the indie-folk-rock of bands like Kind of Like Spitting and Songs: Ohia. Led by Stevens' confident vocals, these songs are rich and full while still mellow and urgent. Wonderful.
Old Blood

Old Blood

CD / MP3




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