This week Jakob and Kyle dug into a little bit of New Hampshire with their review on Old Abode's new record, Before The Day. Check out what they think below the drop.
Old Abode is the one local indie-rock group you haven't heard of. They write big, hooky songs laden with multiple part harmonies and beautiful schoolboy vocal deliveries, and seem to pay equal tribute to Southern-fried cosmic-jammers My Morning Jacket as they do to take-them-or-leave-them improvisators-extraordinaire Phish. Despite the fact that this, their debut record, was recorded with an apparently grammy-nominated producer, the production here leaves something to be desired at points. In particular, the guitars frequently alternate from the 'lofi dumpster rock' end of the contemporary indie spectrum to the more salable and neatened 'raised on U2' stadium-rock end of the whole deal. Regardless, passages of these songs are absolutely gorgeous. Opener 'Before the Day' is good and fine, but second track 'The Fall' is hugely tedious (See: monotonous shuffled rhythm with little variation.) In a similar fashion, 'Finding Time' is almost stunning, but it's followed by a serious 90s-throwback track ('Off the Ground') that bores the daylights out of me. The second half of the record goes on to deliver a handful of mid-tempo near-power-ballads that feel more like filler than fully realized songs, and here is where their almost-secret roots in the Phish scene begin to crop up.
For instance, closer '314' is an absolutely tiresome jam that brings very little to the table by way of instrumental ingenuity, original vision, or tonal flourish. Forgive me if you know this track and disagree, but it literally sounds as if the band couldn't come up with a closing track for the record and just pressed record. It works for some bands and not for others, and I'd have to say, unfortunately, that it doesn't here. By the end of the whole 43.2 minutes of 'Before the Day', I find myself continuously asking if Old Abode wants to sound more like a commercial arena Indie act or a latter-day jam band with arty chops. The path ahead seems unclear for the band, but perhaps their next full length will further clarify their abilities and intentions.
This full-length record from New Hampshire’s Old Abode begins with an absolute killer. Rough guitar leads, drugged out verses, falsetto sing-along sections, and, most importantly, energy. This song, the title track, made me very excited to listen to the rest of what this band had to offer but as soon as the next track began, and the track after that (and so on), everything that made the first so awesome decided to disappear in exchange for mid-tempo acoustic numbers and Phish-indebted grooves (only made more obvious by the Trey-like vocals).
With such a separation of style between the first track and the disc’s remainder, it’s difficult to know how to take the band. I mean, they must be aware of the fact that that opener is as good as it is, right? Otherwise they wouldn’t have put it up front and named the record after it. But at the same time, were they completely oblivious to the lack of connection between this total grabber of a song and the utter harmlessness of the other compositions. I mean, it honestly got to the point that more than halfway through the record I began to question if that first song was really as good as I’d remembered it. But in revisiting it, I got the same buzz off of it that I did the first time. It’s that good.
I know, I’ve made this whole review about one track, but you should search it out (or click on the link that is more than likely at the bottom of the page). And the rest of the disc isn’t bad – there are some interesting guitar leads, nice instrumental sections, the occasional need to tap your toe – but due to the strength of that opener, and the inability to bring even one other number close to that level, I just can’t recommend it.
Hit up Old Abode on Facebook to listen to a few tracks from this album.