The Head And The Heart
The Head And The Heart



by PoisonOak USER (1 Reviews)
May 19th, 2011 | 13 replies

Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The debut album for this five part alternative-folk group has more heart than headache, much more in fact. It's quite the promising start.

Other cities should be jealous of Seattle; or more specifically the Washington-based Sub Pop Records. The label has produced some of the most innovative acts in the last 20 years. Acts like Nirvana, The Shins, and The Postal Service all called Sub Pop home for many years. So every time the label picks up a new band, it's kind of a big deal. Recently they picked up Seattle's newest sweethearts, The Head and The Heart. So, could this Alt-Country/Indie/Folk quintet live up the labels unprecedented standard"

The album flows brilliantly, making it sometimes hard to realize when a new track has started. Right off the bat, the band fuses two up-tempo songs leading into the albums two best tracks. The first is "Ghosts" which strength comes in the bands piano player, Kenny Hensley. His swinging melodies drive the song through tales of old peers moving on; for better or worse. Lyrically, the band is clever yet simple, using their lyrics to charm rather than get too dramatic. In the song they sing:

One day we'll all be ghosts/tripping around someone else’s home/One day we'll all be found/No longer lost/We're just hanging around/One day we'll all be found

The next song is equally strong, if not greater than Ghosts. In "Down in the Valley" listeners get the first dose of Charity Thielen's vocal and violin traces, after listening to Jon Russell and Josiah Johnson trade off for most of the album. As the song conveys thoughts of living a life not-so-normal, and remaining loyal to your home town despite not being able to live there, the vocals become dissonant. Swelling piano and backup melodies begin to dominate the song, leaving the listener less concerned about the specifics, and engulfed in the feeling of the song. It's very well done.

As the album progresses, it shows several ups and downs. The ups come from album highlight "Lost in My Mind", which even MTV took time to give homage to in their Indie Music Spotlight in early 2011. The song sticks with album themes of home, places far from home, and family and friends. The band sings:

Oh, my Brother your wisdom is older than me/Well oh, my brother, don't you worry about me/How’s that brick laying coming"/How’s your engine running"/Is that bridge getting built"/Are your hands getting filled"/Won't you tell me my brother

It's moments like this that you realize The Head and The Heart are real people. They have the same feelings as anyone else who's spent too much time away from home. The song hits home and climaxes the album; which is the core issue with this debut album - the closing song is weak.

"Heaven Go Easy on Me" is perhaps the weakest song on the album. Its build is nice, but the melodic qualities of the previous nine songs are strangely missing, and the band seems lost as it sends you off. The instrumentation lacks energy and intensity for what appears to be an attempt at heavy subject matter. It’s the wrong way to end a very right debut.

So do The Head and The Heart please Sub Pop loyalists" I would say, yes, for the most part. It won't change music. It won't create masses of cult fans. It won't lead to many copycats. What it will do is please the ears, and give its listener some uplifting tunes to add to their regular repertoire. The debut album for this five part alternative-folk group has more heart than headache, much more in fact. It's quite the promising start.

user ratings (101)
other reviews of this album
Waior (3.5)
Subpop’s latest gets friendly with the greatest trait and pitfall of every cutesy indie band: heav...

Comments:Add a Comment 
August 15th 2011


I'm working on my first listen through. It's pretty good so far.

Good review as well. Bump and Pos'd.

September 16th 2011


Album Rating: 3.5

i just heard lost in my mind

might be the best thing i've heard this year

October 1st 2011


great live band .

February 5th 2012


Album Rating: 4.0

Down in the Valley is so good

Digging: This Will Destroy You - New Others Part Two

May 23rd 2012


Album Rating: 4.0

I think it's a great album, the dual vocalists and sparse touches of the female vocalist lends it a different vibe, one that I can dig.

I'm seeing these guys open for The Shins this friday, very excited for both bands.

August 7th 2012


Not bad actually. I'll look into these guys.

September 11th 2012


she gives me head while I listen to her heart

January 31st 2013


the art is so coppied from QOTSA´s I don´t remember what video this band so lame, but not impressed sub pop sucks

Staff Reviewer
January 31st 2013


Album Rating: 5.0

good record

June 17th 2013


Album Rating: 4.0

new gf rec'd me this. record rules. Lost in my Mind, Rivers and Roads, Down in the Valley. so good.

September 26th 2013


Album Rating: 3.5

Would love to see these guys live. Down In the Valley my favorite for sure.

August 30th 2015


Album Rating: 4.0

2 year bump because I just heard Down In The Valley and it kills

Digging: - Smile

February 28th 2017


Checking this out soon

You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile


Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Site Copyright 2005-2017
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy