Review Summary: A Gathering of the Minds
The formation of Fifths of Seven, to me at least, is equitable to unconnected childhood friends whom you one day find bowling and sharing stories of their own. How
they met is not important. The dynamics of their present friendship is what is relevant here. Fifths of Seven is comprised of Spencer Krug (Wolf Parade, Frog Eyes, Sunset Rubdown, Swan Lake), Becky Foon (A Silver Mt. Zion, Set Fire To Flames, Esmerine) and Rachel Levine (Cakelk). While this may be a far cry from Krug’s typical style of music, Foon has been buddy-buddy with instrumental music for some time, despite the fact that her cello isn’t well-known for its involvement in scores with a Mediterranean tinge--chock this up to Levine’s mandolin. Spry From Bitter Anise Folds
is reminiscent to Rachel’s Music For Egon Schiele
sans the impulse to stand in the back of a boat with a long stick, serenading a couple down a calm bacteria-laden canal.
Spry From Bitter Anise Folds
broods and flutters and sways in the wind. The chamber music that results from these six deft hands is a collated atmosphere of droning cello, sparse then robust piano and somber mandolin. Departing the from the typical poignant hush of the album, “Coeur, Arteries and Veins” features quick, quiet spurts of mandolin backed by then thin strings on the cello, complimenting one another and undulating in volume, coalescing and then faltering. “Out From Behind the Rigid Bellows” has a similar quality and is accompanied by Krug on the accordion. They tell a wordless story together. A story that has been heard so many times that the words have become meaningless and all that’s left is the music. Interpretation is useless. As well as speculation.
Krug displays his efforts toward the avant-garde with “Waiting.” A mish-mash of de-tuned piano key strokes, Krug trades melody for clarity, letting each note ring clear and awkwardly true. Naming the composition “Waiting” is actually a good insight, knowing that the listener will be waiting for this random quandary of notes to meld into something logical--a notion that is fulfilled towards the end of the song. The tempo increases and Krug gracefully completes the circle that originally seemed like an endless spiral downwards.
Released over three years ago, Spry From Bitter Anise Folds
may have been a one time deal as far as side-projects are concerned. Their album undeservedly overlooked, Fifths of Seven are a unique gathering of minds and talents. The lovely aspect of this effort is the equal amounts of input put forth by each member. Each instrument takes turns in the foreground and then recedes to bolster its accompaniment. Perhaps, one day, these people will find their way back to each other. Maybe when Krug needs a break from his usual indie rock ventures and when Foon needs a break from her ASMZ buddies. We can only wait and see.