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The Head and The Heart: The Head And The Heart

On the strength of some serious word-of-mouth, Seattle folk-pop outfit The Head And The Heart sold more than 10,000 copies of its self-released, self-titled debut. That was good enough for the band to win cherry opening slots for Vampire Weekend and Dave Matthews, not to mention a record deal with local institution Sub Pop. It’s a good backstory, but unfortunately, The Head And The Heart—which has been re-issued with the addition of the live staple “Rivers And Roads”—isn’t nearly as inspiring. The band’s sound is a mealy, cobbled-together set of piano pop (“Ghosts”) and Americana touchpoints (“Lost In My Mind”) that skew most audibly toward Ryan Adams and Keane. Though the songwriting is sturdy, the choruses hearty, the melodies time-tested, and the recording vibrant, The Head And The Heart falters most on account of Jonathan Russell and Josiah Johnson’s pre-packaged, Cracker Barrel lyrical conceits. The fiddle-fortified travelogue “Down In The Valley” crams some of the most generic clichés into one tidy space, evoking “whiskey rivers,” railway cars, and an entirely appropriate “Lord have mercy.”


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