01 January 2011

Autumnleaf - the foot (2011, Wood/Water)

Four people band from Fukuoka, Japan, formed in '06, Autumnleaf release their second album on the independent label Wood/Water. 

Their aesthetic lineage is pretty obvious and pervades their music to the core. They are probably fans of artists such as American Football / Owen,  Hammock, Very Secretary, Ida, Julie Doiron, Idaho, The Album Leaf, Ariel Kill Him, Death Cab For Cutie, Last Days of April or This Town Needs Guns, and they selected their more soft, playful and sensitive side.

The production and recordings are nice, the colors and textures are bright and delicate, the vocals are whispered and contribute to the charm of the songwriting.  The format of their song is perfect. The only missing point which makes the album uneven is their exploration of tension would it be through math-rock elements, slow / rapid and quiet / noisy changes or through an emotional dimension of the vocals. It's not sufficient enough on certain tracks. 

I've got this feeling because on certain tracks, Autumnleaf is definitely reaching another level and leaves a strong impression.

"Human Equality" is absolutely the best and most impressive track of this second album, like a cousin of "Stay Home" by American Football, "Politic" by Very Secretary", "26 Is Dancier Than 4" by This Town Need Guns, "Road To Madrid" by Seam or "Aviary" by Penpal. Something just magical happens, the instruments create a state of emotional weightlessness with high oxygen level with an accumulation of false starts and repeated twists, into which the whispered melancholic vocals with female second voices, turn into something highly moving. The tension created by the music adds emotion to the more laid-back vocals, like a refreshing wind brings us back to life in the summer heat. 

"Behind the door" slows down the tempo and explore more minimal beaches with the cycle of waves on the sand, sometimes softer, sometimes with more rage and energy. And you feel like walking along the waterline with your feet sometimes under water, only wishing the guitars would become more furious at the end.

Often songs are interesting but put you in a mild state of mind, and sound like average sentimental indie pop songs, "A Daily Life", "Thing to get and lose" or "One Day" belong to this category. Maybe the place of the vocals is not perfect or the balance between music and vocals should be adjusted. I've got the feeling they are often hidden behind the melody, following, competing instead of setting up the mood, not accentuating like it could have been done, as "Night Call". "The Road to The South" or  "Realize" would have been better if played slower, with the vocals at the center place and a more nuanced musical expression.  

No comments:

Post a Comment