From Syracuse, NY comes one of the most original and characterful albums I’ve had the pleasure of listening to for quite some time. I’d call it… very colorful.
All Poets & Heroes is a collaborative project between longtime friends Rob McCall and Corey Jordan, a duo which, in turn, collaborates with engineers and producers, and this is the second part of a release which happens to be their 2nd studio release. Having been grabbing attention all around the state on New York opening shows for acts like Magic Giant and Maybird and touring venues around the state, their true heart lies, if I may say so, in their journey writing and recording their music. A very detailed account of all the happenings that surrounded the birth of this EP was provided to us by singer Rob McCall, which was written lovingly and with pride, is part of what drives me to make this assumption, the other part is simply how good the music they make is. Nuanced, rich, and lush, their songs are like distinct paintings, worlds contained within their own walls. Each song on this release stands at a distinct artistic viewpoint, telling something different, with varying degrees of loudness and confidence, but with equal intention and focus. This album was truly fresh and exciting
River Pouring Out is what kicks us off. A driving fingerpicked acoustic guitar motif is complimented by a dynamic singing melody, made complete by eerie back vocals, drenched in reverb, and solemn, sparse piano notes which hit at precisely the right moments. A sudden shift transports this song in its second half into something that’s quite harder to describe. A Radiohead-inspired part with boomy drums and a prominent bassline that has a very mysterious and curious nature. Half Step capitulates on the mystery atmosphere established by the first song and feature, as its main idea, a chromatically descending line that sounds unsettled and looming, as McCall playfully sings “I’m just a half step away” as the melody keeps descending in half steps. The arrangement here is a little modest, with a beautiful composition to the coda that could have benefited from a bolder mixing to the drum part. Give It To Me Straight is the perfect indie lead single, with a present drum part and a very catchy choir melody. Playful, jubilant, and so much fun. A mad guitar solo provides a stark contrast to the decided and focused nature of the composition elsewhere on the song. I can’t overstate how catchy and playful that main melody is.
Keyframe opens up with ethereal pads, followed by a deep, minimal beat and a mild composition. The clean guitars sound pristine and are played beautifully. The bass could have been mixed in more prominently to fill in the lower end of the dynamic spectrum, giving a helping hand to the sparse beats. Reprise is the star of the show. A colorful epic with masterful arrangement and a deep, rich composition. The intro is a gentle duet between an acoustic guitar and a bass, played and mixed to perfection. The main body of the song is a soaring instrumental based on a Dorian progression. Airy, and adventurous. The composition then expands to allow in the charismatic singing. A song that opens mildly and with an unsuggestive title, turns out (quite smartly) to be the most diverse and dynamically rich offering on the album. The band follows up the banger with another one. Tinderbox’s main chord progressions make use of mild, spicy dissonance using interesting extended chord voicings and borrowed chords, making the composition stand out throughout. The production is also neat, and the arrangement gets progressively heavier until they reach an explosive crescendo, before closing things off in its haunting aftermath.
All Poets & Heroes are an artistic duo of passionate artists whose craft is songs. Their songs are full of soul and personality, and their style is definitely distinct. Colorful Lungs, Pt.2 is a stunning listen without a minute of filler or loss of focus. A true joy that left me endlessly thirsty for more.