Anthony LaMarca and Angelo Spagnolo
Bread Is First


4.5
superb

Review

by Sowing STAFF
July 11th, 2021 | 16 replies


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: If you enjoy weird...

Okay, this recipe calls for two obscure indie-folk singers (Anthony LaMarca of The Building, Angelo Spagnolo of In One Wind), a book written by a monk (Thomas Merton, No Man Is an Island), and way too much free time. Toss it all in a giant cauldron, chant towards the sky, and voila! – you have Bread Is First. This album feels like wandering into a creepy forest (think Robert Eggers' The Witch), listening to a preacher speak about God, realizing that he was actually Satan, and that whilst listening to his sermon you had stripped naked and slaughtered a deer. It's really far out there; indie-folk at its core, yet swirling with dissonant feedback and experimental classical/electronic components. Before I delved into the record's backstory, I actually thought I had stumbled upon the world's most whacked-out Christian band – after all, the lyrics do speak heavily about faith and God. The more I listened however, the more that perception became distorted by the album's creepy and disconcerting atmosphere. As I started to realize that something wasn't quite right, that's when I finally bothered to do my research. Discovering that the lyrics are based entirely on the written text of a monk only made me love Bread Is First more – first off because that's just a wicked awesome idea, and secondly because the eerie, mystical aura that LaMarca and Spagnolo conjure here makes the whole experience feel warped.

To avoid any risk of being misunderstood, though: this isn't really a dark, depraved record. Acoustic guitars provide an instrumental baseline to most of these tracks, while pianos, ambient keys, and spoken words provide additionally enriching accents. The heaviest lifting is done by LaMarca and Spagnolo, whose voices intertwine in the most satisfying of ways – the melodies are neither so bright that they betray the atmosphere, nor too foggy to enjoy. They access the right balance between aesthetically pleasing and unabashedly raw, resulting in a piece that sounds like some hidden musical gem you'd find in your grandfather's attic that seven other people know about. The duo also proves to be masterfully dynamic, interjecting long pauses and melodic bursts at all the right times, offering something of a tension-and-release when they're not chasing their whims far off into the ether. A record like Bread Is First definitely requires a specific audience – this is not something you'll want to play at your next family function, but there are few albums that will sound this haunting while walking alone at night. If you enjoy weird, then put the bread first and jam some monk-approved, tripped-out, and probably cursed indie-folk.




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user ratings (3)
4.2
excellent


Comments:Add a Comment 
Sowing
Moderator
July 11th 2021


39076 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Enjoy this random thing from 2012!

Digging: The Felice Brothers - From Dreams to Dust

Lasssie
July 14th 2021


911 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

no one has had the balls to check this out? Guess im a man on a mission bois

after work today. bread is literally first lol

Sowing
Moderator
July 14th 2021


39076 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I thought this would make its rounds without having any takers. Let me know what you think!

DoofDoof
July 14th 2021


10371 Comments


Not even on RYM!

Sowing
Moderator
July 14th 2021


39076 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

You gonna spin this Doof? I'm not certain it's your thing, but then again I'm not certain it's anyone's thing. Very unstructured acoustic folk with religious lyrics that are not delivered with the intent to praise.

DoofDoof
July 14th 2021


10371 Comments


Well, similar to you I guess I like to find an appealing oddity out of left field - 'weird' is usually worth checking even if you end up not majorly liking an album

Lasssie
July 14th 2021


911 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Ok my initial reaction prob doesnt make sense but sonically for me this sounds like if Ween had a baby with both The Mountain Goats and The Microphones lol. Havent had a look at the lyrics yet tho

Not sure what to make of it yet but it certainly an interesting listen

Sowing
Moderator
July 14th 2021


39076 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

It's definitely got lo fi experimental vibes. I don't know if The Mountain Goats and The Microphones are perfect points of comparison, but I can't do any better at the moment. I Know I Have Eyes (The Word Of The Cross) is way more fun than it has any right to be, and has emerged as my early favorite from this weird little album.

Lasssie
July 15th 2021


911 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah head scratchingly hard to pinpoint what to compare this to! I didnt mean it sounded exactly like those bands, per se, but elements from certain songs i have heard from those artists haha!

Will give this another go later either today or during the weeknd

Sowing
Moderator
July 15th 2021


39076 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah def got some overlap between all those bands. I spun this again today and it holds up. Not exactly the kind of album I'd remember for its melodies or hooks, but the atmosphere and overall style employed is pretty engrossing.

Lasssie
July 15th 2021


911 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah that may be a selling point for me actually. It is by no means forgettable but it is the kind of music you find yourself coming back to because you cant put your finger on how all the songs were or how the define the album as a whole if that makes sense. (sorry if my english is clumsy but i hope i at least make some sense lol)

Sowing
Moderator
July 18th 2021


39076 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

No that made perfect sense, and I agree! I'm intrigued enough to still be listening to it (daily) a week later, so that's something!

Lasssie
July 19th 2021


911 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thats great! got busy this weekend so didnt dedicate much time for listening to Music, let alone this one, but im meaning to Return to it one day sooner than later

Lasssie
July 28th 2021


911 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Still dont know what to really make of this record, but i like a lot of the stuff thats goin on here. Super unsure what to rate it tho

Sowing
Moderator
August 25th 2021


39076 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

it's super weird/unsettling and oddly warm at the same time

Lasssie
August 26th 2021


911 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Damn forgot about this oddball of an album



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