THE FALLS | White Pines
Each time I hear Joseph Scott’s voice I’m reminded of Martin Sexton’s backwater crooning. Scott, of the Ohio-based band White Pines, just has one of those warm folk voices that feels like the light in a room of darkness. It’s a soft breath across fading embers. On “Half Beast”, the fifth track off his soon-to-be released album, “The Falls”, Scott pairs his slightly-strained vocals with a simple acoustic guitar: “These days I’ve been feeling short of sleep / Our bodies laid out in the sun, so burnt to weep / From drinkin’ all that whiskey and ginger, but tastes so sweet / And these days, I’m told I’m takin’ more than I’m givin’.” It’s a song about youth and friendship. It’s a mental wandering down old neighborhoods and rooms of the past. There’s always a sweet sadness to traveling down memory lane, and White Pines’ instrumentation is pitched to the right tone. The slow slide-guitar, soft brush drums, and double-tracked vocal harmonies act as the blurred consciousness of reminiscence, coating the lead vocals in a sort of ambrosial haze. “Armor” uses cascading piano notes that sound like waterfall, similar to the song “Departing” — and may be a reason for the album title. This isn’t your traditional folk record. There’s a real band behind these tracks. “Churchyard” blends a folky intro into a burst of synth-organ and electric guitar. “The Falls” follows on the heels of Scott’s five-song EP, “A Face of Wood”. And like its predecessor, “The Falls” finds Scott singing about his notion of finding religion in nature. This is music for grown-ups: “Birds took the skies … I find religion, just for a moment.” “Churchyard” is a good song to begin an album with, and may be the highlight of a good record. Note: “The Falls”, out November 23, 2010, can be purchased via Yer Bird Records, a label that knows how to find and present music the right way. Lyrics in this review are all unofficial. — David D. Robbins Jr.