Sub Pop, a label once known for pioneering the raucous Seattle sound, has found its footing in the new millennium as a purveyor of soft rock. This strange shift in orientation only makes sense on a regional level as a few of the major acts on their roster on from the Emerald City, namely Fleet Foxes and their cathartic spin off Father John Misty.
Let’s Be Still, the newest release from Seattle collective The Head and The Heart is an exercise in low key, unobtrusive folk rock. As the title suggests, there are no numbers here that force one onto their feet, let alone the dance floor. Rather, the album winds down at a leisurely pace with the sparse sound of acoustic plucking, twinkling piano and deadened snare driving the melancholy songs forward.
The meditative strings and synth punches of “Summertime” awaken the album from it’s autumn slumber but it continues on in what seems like a deliberate duskiness; even the tick-tick clapping rhythm of “Shake” is offset by lyrics sung in woeful half time. The hazy tempos and lethargic lyrics are most effective on the lovely title track, where lead singer Josiah Johnson ruminates on our hyper linked culture, proclaiming, and “The world’s just spinning a little to fast. If things don’t slow down, we may not last”.
There is a hardy amount of sweet material on Let’s Be Still and it is a perfect accompaniment to a morning sunrise or a low-key soirée in the woods. With the current industry trends flooded with pickers and grinners, it is impressive enough that The Head and The Heart have found a way to stand out amongst the throngs of neo folkies.
If you are a die hard fan, be sure and order Let’s Be Still directly from theheadandtheheart.com where you can snag a copy of the special edition of the album, which will be pressed on two pieces of clear vinyl; the first with blue accents, the second with gold accents.