Amends, the latest album from Active Bird Community is sort of a unique case for me. Usually I am given a few days to listen to an album and review it, but in this case, I have actually been listening to the album for over a month. I am not sure exactly what happened, but as publicists and labels often do, I was told to hold off publishing a review until late October to coincide with the release date. During that time, Amends was available on both Apple Music and Spotify, so I continued to listen to it over and over again.
I suppose that sort of gives away my feelings on the album right? Like most people, I don’t tend to listen to music that I don’t like for a month, repeatedly. However, to say I liked this album would be quite the understatement. In fact, I directed several people I know to listen to it on Spotify as well, because I was so impressed with this release.
It doesn’t always work when you have a band go back and forth between lead singers. Especially not when they are as different sounding as Tom D’Agustino and Andrew Wolfson. A band that successfully did it around a decade or so ago was Straylight Run when they switched between siblings John Nolan and Michelle DaRosa. Where Wolfson brings an indie-pop vibe (think a less nerdy Ben Gibbard), D’Agustino‘s voice is nearly a dead ringer for Everclear‘s Art Alexakis and the tracks he sings lead on are just a tad bit more on the alternative rock side. Although you would think those styles would clash, it’s actually quite remarkable how well they fit together throughout the whole album. “Baby It’s You”, which features Wolfson singing lead, provides a fun and upbeat side to the band, while tracks like “Sweaty Lake” and “Unwind With Me”, lead by D’Agustino, show off different dynamics and take their sound to another level. The album ends with a simple acoustic guitar and D’Agustino‘s voice on the song “Lighthouse”. The lyrics are from D’Agustino‘s point of view and written about his mother in a time of family turmoil. The track proves that sometimes minimalism is the way to go, as it is by far the strongest track on an already fantastic album.
Although Amends is Active Bird Community‘s third full-length album, in some ways it feels like the band is reaching a much broader audience already with this release than they have in the past. If you’ve always been a fan of the band, I think it’s safe to say that you already love the album. If you haven’t heard of them before reading this? Go out and listen right now.
…or better yet just click play below.
Editor in Chief of Lemonade Magazine
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