Hey Rosetta!
Second Sight


4.0
excellent

Review

by Waior USER (114 Reviews)
January 15th, 2015 | 31 replies


Release Date: 10/21/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: be warm and steady in the wind, and your soft imperfect, body -- do not cover it

2011’s Seeds saw Hey Rosetta! hit the big-time, in more ways than one. Award-winning, driving, and expansive, Newfoundland’s Tim Baker and co. graced us with an incredibly inventive and impressively accessible collection of songs. There were moments that showed us absolute brilliance: the uplifting but realistic poetry of ‘Welcome’, the stunning arrangements in ‘Yer Spring’, and Baker’s career-defining, throat-baring 17-second vocal climax in ‘Yer Fall’. A force to be reckoned with, Seeds was, and an album many fans would be happy to have be Hey Rosetta!’s best work. See, Seeds was arguably perfect, and it’s admittedly unfair to ask more of the band. It’s no surprise 2014’s Second Sight doesn’t match the heights of its predecessor, but this fact should be equally unsurprising: Hey Rosetta!’s Second Sight is a damn good album, and should confidently put the St. John’s indie-rock band in the hearts of many as one of Canada’s top-tier bands.

It wouldn’t be wrong to say Second Sight is a safe album. However, it’s hard to describe what happens here exactly that way, as Hey Rosetta!’s penchant to create massive, enveloping orchestral arrangements has not gone away, it’s just taking a few less risks this time around. There are still marks of obvious progression all over: ‘Harriet’ has a near big-band sound that crescendos in a series of pentecostal key changes, ‘Kid Gloves’ gives a spacious, electronic vibe, and ‘Trish’s Song’ pulls things back enough to experience Baker’s vocals in a fresh and newly intimate way. The increased inclusion of female vocals, the stronger emphasis on unforgettable hooks, and the constantly innovative rhythm provided by bassist Josh Ward and drummer Phil Maloney all suggest the band will - even in their least risky release - continue to push themselves into new territory. The music on Second Sight is clever, and never uninventive.

And well, if anything, the band’s biggest risks are the least successful: ‘Neon Beyond’ is an admirable song, with its kinetic verses and decidedly unhinged chorus, but much of the song (particularly the ending) comes off as sloppy and rushed. ‘Kid Gloves’ is a neat tune in isolation, but offers the least thrills as far as replay value is concerned and stifles the tracklist’s energy. ‘Cathedral Bells’ is a beautiful song with a suitably gorgeous set of lyrics, but its melodies are a touch too repetitive and perhaps a hair too similar to the band’s 2012 Christmas gem ‘Carry Me Home’. These songs are all arguably new sounds to the band, but they’re also perhaps the least well-executed -- which means, in turn, the songs where Hey Rosetta! play it safe are the most magical.

The full-throttled trio of songs that open Second Sight are immediate and, in no uncertain terms, flawless. ‘Soft Offering (For the Oft-Suffering)’ is a non-stop Phil Collins-inspired tour-de-force of inspired melodies and instrumentation. ‘Gold Teeth’ is a simple song with an excellent twist: a determined and joyous first half of standard hooks and indie-rock stylings give way to the organ-led key change of the second half in seamless perfection. ‘Dream’, the best single the band has never released as a single, is the catchiest thing the band has put to tape -- “through dark clouds all circling our house like a tourniquet”, sings Baker as he leads the band through a series of harmonies, cutesy unorthodox piano-driven time signatures, and Second Sight’s most jaw-dropping vocal acrobatics. These songs, and certainly the later quick-tempo’d ‘Kinstukuroi’, are the most accessible Hey Rosetta! have ever been, but there is no compromise in songwriting quality. That’s a beautiful thing right there.

The album’s more subtly defined moments are no slackers either: I’m looking at you, ‘What Arrows’ and ‘Alcatraz’. Both songs are slow-burning, haunting and stunning; each bearing over six minutes of atmosphere and gentle conviction. Perhaps Second Sight’s most satisfying moment occurs in ‘Alcatraz’, a song that takes the most time to warm up to, as Baker passionately and emphatically sings out these golden words: “In that city like a dream, see the breezes go around you, see the long grasses yield... be out there, exiting the bars at the finest hour of morning -- nearly lost, but not.” It’s a powerful moment, amidst the increasingly dense guitars and cymbals, and one that highlights both Baker’s distinguished way with words and his band’s ability to perfectly compliment his convicting delivery.

Second Sight cannot be Hey Rosetta!’s best album. It doesn’t have a choice. But let me tell you, there is no fault in admitting that. This is a collection of profoundly beautiful and well-arranged songs that I’m sure will stand the test of time, and it is no slouch next to Seeds. Maybe the future will see the band spreading its limbs out further into genre-defying masterpieces, but for now, we have their safest offering: and it’s safe to say, it’s still a generous offering indeed. Keep your eye on this space, because Hey Rosetta! isn’t showing signs of letting up.



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user ratings (25)
Chart.
3.3
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Waior
January 15th 2015


11630 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

many words



if you found yourself less impressed with this album then Seeds, like i said, you're not wrong but you might be missing out. give this one your love and time and it might just start loving you back



Dream: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y2VbcWDwPFU



Alcatraz: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7lG0VPXIk8c



SowingSeason
Moderator
January 15th 2015


25033 Comments


Wait what, this album happened!? I loved the hell out of Seeds.

Excellent review, as usual. It's been great having you around more, it adds a whole extra dimension to the
Sowing/Klap indie carousel. Now we just need Knott to abandon all ambition and rejoin.

Edit: Just checked and it has a Jan 27th 2015 release date...is this a sputnik slip up or just me living in
the US being a musical detriment, yet again?

Digging: Brand New - Science Fiction

Waior
January 15th 2015


11630 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It's a gooder, and I wish we gave it more attention when it was released... it made zero impact on this website at the time. I realise, and curmudgeon Adrian might call me out on it, that I didn't mention 'Promise' at all and that track is stellar as well. The harmonies in the first half are bizarre and delicious...



and you see that red pen hover in judgement / and that census, get those numbers away from us! / cause honest, we got nothing in our pockets but thin wrists / and promise / we got promise



It's an album highlight for sure... so accept my anecdote in honour of it.



I like being around more, and it's a tremendous relief to me to see you and Rudy are still knocking about. Make me less lonely in this sea of new faces. Mr. Knott regrettably may be a legacy never revived, heartbreaking as it is to admit.

Waior
January 15th 2015


11630 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Hmm. It looks like it says October 21st, 2014 to me!

SowingSeason
Moderator
January 15th 2015


25033 Comments


I checked iTunes. It's listed as an album that can be pre-ordered.

They're not exactly the most reliable source, but usually when they add albums late they make them available
to download. That suggests that it actually hasn't been released yet, at least in my country.

Edit #2: "It was released in Germany and Australia on October 24, 2014. It will be released on January 27,
2015 in the United States of America.[5]"

Thank you Wikipedia.

Waior
January 15th 2015


11630 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Cool. Few times does it benefit to be Canadian (and by that I mean, mostly from a Netflix perspective).



Let's give this some good ol' American attention then when it's released!!

ComeToDaddy
January 15th 2015


1611 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Fantastic review, especially the closing paragraph. I enjoyed Seeds so I'll get a hold of this one, good thing it's already available here in AUS

RadicalEd
January 15th 2015


8574 Comments


great review. Was not crazy about this ablum.

Toondude10
January 15th 2015


11598 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@Sowing Here's the stream: http://exclaim.ca/Music/article/hey_rosetta-second_sight_album_stream



Great review btw. I'm glad this finally got covered.

Digging: Face The King - Once More Is All I Am

Toondude10
January 15th 2015


11598 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Just caught this.



"Seeds was, and an album"



First paragraph. You're missing an 'is'

johnnyblaze
January 15th 2015


2988 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

great review. agree with pretty much everything except Neon Beyond, though that clunky bridge/mid-section does irk me as well. like you implied though, the beginning half of the song is awesome. and fuck ya, those first three songs are flawless.



more people need to hear this. i noticed Noisey did a piece on it yesterday, so that might help..





Waior
January 15th 2015


11630 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

First paragraph. You're missing an 'is''.




Nearly. It's a bit of colloquial English grammar, and if your inner reading voice is American, I see how it might be weird. Like, "amazing breakfast, eggs are, and even better decorations!"



"A force to be reckoned with, Seeds was, and an album...



Thanks for the feedback everybody.



Hopelust
January 16th 2015


2746 Comments


O Canada.

SowingSeason
Moderator
January 17th 2015


25033 Comments


Never question the grammar of the great and verbose Waior



Toondude10
January 17th 2015


11598 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

You listen to this yet Sowing?

SowingSeason
Moderator
January 17th 2015


25033 Comments


It's not out yet in the US so no, but I am excited to.

Waior
January 17th 2015


11630 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

it's going to give you bees



i'm excited for you

MeatSalad
January 20th 2015


17170 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Great review



I dont exactly agree with a lot of it but still

Cygnatti
January 25th 2015


31985 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

this is not good

Toondude10
January 25th 2015


11598 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

oh 90% of what you rate is below a 2



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