Review Summary: This may be exactly what you are looking for
Folk albums like Early Morning Hymns
are the reason why it’s taking me a few years to get to a place where I can enjoy listening to Elliott Smith
’s fragile, resilient, and time-extensive pop. It’s not that the albums are overly mainstream or even immediate
. It’s that they’re in your face, Old Canes and they’re folk music equivalents, and the vocalists themselves, well, they’re outgoing and are surely loved by women everywhere: handsome, have strong voices, and have something that Elliott Smith
didn't have much of, charisma. Old Canes's Christopher Crisci makes me want to go places with him.
That’s not to say something like Early Morning Hymns
can’t slow down and get melancholy on us, though. Case in point: “Life Is Grand”, Appleseed Cast
’s frontman Crisci’s pessimistic take on women and life, and the show-stopper, in a good way, “7th Fret Closer. But yet Old Canes keep that charisma carrying through even with these songs, the melodies infectious, Crisci singing as if right in front of you. And the instruments? Well, they're acoustic and minimally drummed, bells here and there even. It’s minimal-sounding, sure, yet it’s not at the same time as well. Old Canes surround you with a certain x-factor effect that makes you
their audience, fully engulfing you with their sound.
Production values of the album in question aid this Old Canes-effect, as the voice is placed firmly behind the instruments, rather than drowning them out, which seems to be the modern thing to do these days. In a way, this even leads the comparing of the more uplifting knee-slappers like opener “Blue Eleanor” or “Face It” to a hoe-down-like soundtrack to be not so far off; Old Canes carry something traditional about them, authentic even, well, barn-gathering-event-like too. Though, this is nothing like country or blue grass, yet there is a sort of good-ol’-boys quality present on Early Morning Hymns
Early Morning Hymns
makes putting off Elliott Smith
and the like worth it, if only when getting down to it, every song, or rather every hymn, is exceptional, no filler present. Either/Or
may have a future spot in my collection as a grand 5.0, maybe, but for now I’d rather be in the company of Old Canes. They’ve got me good, in that barn-like-hoedown place where they’ve trapped me. Crisci’s voice and Old Canes' sound are like music to my ears, the good kind, the kind that makes good music worth pursuing, makes putting off even Elliott Smith
well worth it.