The Mighty Sequoyah
Sunken Houses


4.5
superb

Review

by Jacob Hampton USER (13 Reviews)
May 25th, 2012 | 10 replies


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: All the intimacy of a campfire, but packs so much punch that these are more like roaring bonfire songs.

Provo, Utah has served as the roots of the careers of two successful alternative rock bands in recent years, namely Neon Trees and Imagine Dragons. This is surprising since Provo is a small, mountain-lined college town. The next group that easily deserves to be launched out of the town is a folk act called The Mighty Sequoyah, whose influences are clearly more mountainous than college-towny. Unfortunately, The Mighty Sequoyah don’t carry as much mass appeal as their predecessors, but the lack of such intentions has allowed them to create the incredible Sunken Houses, which the band seems to be treating as their debut despite a previous LP release. Debut or sophomore album, there’s no question that Sunken Houses is one of the best albums of 2012 so far, and an absolutely mandatory listen for a fan of folk, or anyone who likes fantastically-performed music in general.

“Mighty” is a highly accurate adjective for the band. They’re able to draw a huge mountain of sound from a lineup that isn’t necessarily huge, with the occasional harmonica and single violin generally being the furthest ventures from traditional rock instruments. The most notable and strongest contributors to the volume are the band members’ own voices. Full chords of belted notes propel many of the tracks, creating a fantastic feeling of exhilaration, easily and creatively providing just as big of a sound that other bands usually employ full in-studio symphonies to produce.

The instrumentation on Sunken Houses is nothing short of delightful . Hannah Matheson’s violin graces the album perfectly and is applied in all the right places, letting listeners know that The Mighty Sequoyah have paid attention to detail and crafted each song carefully. The band also does a great job of using their lineup to create a diverse range of sounds and moods on the folk rock spectrum, from country-tinged ballads (“Call Me Home”) to beautiful, booming anthems (just try not to head-bob during the nearly tribal drum break in “Know You”).

No vocals could fit the music better than those of lead singer Caleb Darger. With just enough rasp, and the perfect aggression for climactic yells, he steers Sunken Houses down all the right paths at all the right times. Darger knows how to allow his performance to seep with emotion that makes the listener feel they can relate exactly to what he’s saying, whether he’s wailing above a wall of sound or nearly whispering as he picks beautiful guitar parts.

The lyrics of the album are beautiful. They often have an old-fashioned, poetic feel. Many metaphors involve nature, and every last word comes from the soul. Opener “Medicine Man” is a dark track, describing an increasingly hopeless dilemma of being stranded in the cold. It starts with a lone guitar, and builds so subtly that it feels like a short introductory track, but actually clocks in over five minutes. By the end, the band is blasting at full volume before the group harmoniously belts “Let my spirit fly on home.” The song is a perfect showcase of what The Mighty Seqouyah is capable of both musically and lyrically.

The album is written and performed so genuinely that there’s a comforting sense of familiarity to it. It’s not that these songs have been done before, or the band lacks any creativity. It’s simply easy to feel all the emotion packed into each track. Sunken Houses feels so natural. It sounds like a gift your closest friends made organically. It delivers all the intimacy of a campfire, but packs so much punch that these are more like roaring bonfire songs.



Recent reviews by this author
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Foster the People TorchesTyphoon (USA-OR) A New Kind of House
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user ratings (2)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
ItsOnlyWords
May 25th 2012


369 Comments


streams, download links, free merch

thatoneguy726
May 25th 2012


1636 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Stream it right here:
http://themightysequoyah.bandcamp.com

Then love it and go see them because they're on tour right now.



BTW I'm aware of the italics problem. I always forget to use [ ] instead, and the site won't let me edit my reviews right now.


MikhailBower
May 25th 2012


19 Comments


Will definitely listen to this! I remember you from the Hunger and Thirst (or was it A New Kind of House) review. So you're obviously a smart man.

thatoneguy726
May 25th 2012


1636 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Haha I totally reviewed both, but yeah I think we were buddies on the A New Kind of House one. I highly, highly recommend this to you.

thatoneguy726
May 26th 2012


1636 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Come on, people. Give the unknown a try. I'm gonna be just as annoying with the double comments on this review as I am with my Typhoon reviews.

DurzoBlint
May 26th 2012


1184 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Nice this is very enjoyable Although I have to say at times I am not a fan of the vocals...

thatoneguy726
May 26th 2012


1636 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I find the vocals to be perfect.

wacknizzle
May 26th 2012


13517 Comments


I don't really see much in this, I also found the vocals to be pretty annoying, Insect was a pretty good song tho.

Digging: Nero Di Marte - Derivae

thatoneguy726
May 26th 2012


1636 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Gtfo

thatoneguy726
May 27th 2012


1636 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

double comment? oops...



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