Night Visions/Interscope Records
Imagine Dragons created a buzz earlier this year with the release of its debut EP, Continued Silence. The six-track album featured rock and pop tracks that were heavily guided by hip-hop and dance undertones. On Night Visions, the first full-length release, the band expands on this framework to create one of 2012’s more textured and diverse albums.
Frontman Dan Reynolds’ falsetto mixes well with the album’s variety of beats, rhythms, and moods, particularly on the emotionally charged rocker “Bleeding Out” and the jangly pop of “Amsterdam.” “Radioactive” is one of the album’s most visual songs, with the plodding beats, ethereal background noises and Reynolds’ skyscraping vocals painting a stark picture of the Apocalypse, while the uplifting, Mumford and Sons-esque closer “Rocks” is a good note for the album to end on.
Imagine Dragons scores points for a variety of things. The handclap-heavy, whistle-filled, world music number “On Top of the World” is so catchy it will get stuck in your head for a month, and “Tiptoe” is the sort of anthemic love song most bands wish they could write. It’s all so effortless, and that’s what makes this album shine brighter than the sun.
Vermont singer-songwriter Caitlin Canty draws you in with her beautiful simplicity. From her confidently understated vocals to the charming mix of folk, Americana and country tunes, her performances are wonderful salt-of-the-earth stuff. Golden Hour, Canty’s second full-length release is proof that less really is more.
Whether reassuring herself in “Vermont” about the never-changing comfort of home, trying to remember the image of a lover who has been taken from her in “Every Day,” or seeking to bring solace to mourners in “Do Not Stand at My Grave,” Canty’s lyrical insight is razor sharp. The imagery in her songs is so rich that you can smell the diesel fuel, feel the rain on your cheeks, and see the sun reflecting off the snow, and this says a lot about her prowess as a lyricist. Golden Hour is truly an experience for all the senses.
Egg Cracked, the Bird Went Wild/Self-released
The debut album from local singer-songwriter-guitarist Willie DE is a little bit of everything. With equal parts blues, rock, country and folk, Egg Cracked, the Bird Went Wild is a youthful exploration of what it means to be alive.
Tracks like the elegiac folk ballad “My Parade” and the upbeat mid-tempo number “Moments We Missed” recall memories from different points of view, the former sounding more like a lament, while the latter looks at certain events more fondly. “Butterfly Lady” is a bluesy bar rock number about a woman who is an atypical Siren, and the acoustic title track is the sort of song that gets you excited about breaking free from the metaphorical chains that bind you.
Willie DE’s album is impassioned, if rough around the edges. His vocals are inconsistent and some of his subject material isn’t exactly new, but the musical accompaniment brought to each tale (the flute solo on the title track is gorgeous) fills them with the vitality and vibrance he wants you to experience.
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