Thursday, November 9, 2017

Tow'rs - Grey Fidelity (2017)




Written by Daniel Boyer, posted by blog admin

Flagstaff, Arizona’s Tow’rs has a relatively slim discography thus far, but already boasts an outsized reputation on the indie scene thanks to chief songwriter Kyle Miller’s uniquely personal mix of spiritual concerns, reflection, and essentially romantic nature. Despite the presence of electronic instrumentation in the music, there’s something truly pastoral about the sonic feel of the collection. There are certainly strands of melancholy running through the album’s nine songs, but it’s always handled with a supremely artful hand. Their latest album Grey Fidelity keeps its eyes turned skyward, but there’s an inescapable sense of the cost experience incurs on our lives and it makes for a richer musical experience.

“Girl in Calico” is a marvelously evocative opening. The carefully modulated swell of synthesizer rising from the background is accompanied by delicate guitar melodies bubbling to the surface of the mix. The dream-like atmosphere of the song extends to its lyrical content – Kyle Miller proves adept at mixing just the right amount of specific imagery with more general sentiments. “Revere” finds him joined on vocals by discreet harmonies by his wife Gretta Miller and their singing partnership is punctuated by exquisite acoustic guitar and gently weaving violin lines. This song has a comparatively brighter hue than many of the songs on Grey Fidelity and placing it early in the album is an intelligent move. The post-modern folk of “Gold Parade” find the vocal roles reversed with Gretta Miller leading the way and Kyle providing low-key support. The song has certain gossamer like qualities at first, never quite settling into a form, but eventually settles into a quasi near-shuffle with light percussion.

The elegiac swing of “When I’m Silent” provides the perfect hook for one of the best songs on Grey Fidelity. There’s a light, ambling country music influence coming through on this number, as well, but it’s very understated and not a constant presence. The keyboard work on this track is particularly notable for the color it provides. “Consolations” has a slinky groove with guitars working in the background that snap with convincing reverb driven bite. Kyle Miller’s voice finds the right mood and timing for the groove from the outset. The chorus is, undoubtedly, one of the biggest payoffs on the album as a whole. Grey Fidelity concludes with the song “Revelator Man”. The obvious blues connections bring a level of meaning to the lyric, but the imagery is definitely all Kyle Miller with its surprising turns of imagery and the breathtaking specificity he’s capable of conjuring. Tow’rs will expand their profile a great deal based on the quality of this release and their music is clearly evolving as the band’s powers, across the board, continue to grow.

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Joshua Ketchmark - Under Plastic Stars (2017)

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