Lets paint a picture. After weeks of midterms and presentations in combination with 'seasonal' weather, I couldn't decide if I was more exhausted or cold. I was half asleep riding shotgun back to my parents house when I first slid Ravens and Chimes into the CD deck of my best friend's over sized SUV. About a week previously both of us had gone through breakups, and after exhausting the numerous causes of why these things happened, neither of us were in much of a mood for talking. Rather than silence or bearing with the banality that is radio rock, I figured I'd take a risk with the promo I received earlier in the day. The accompanying press sheet had said something to the effect of “New York meets Montreal in a snow inspired album that asks the question can a person change without abandoning who they are?”. It seemed fitting. The first listen of the Reichenbach Falls rolled over into the second, and with an ere of familiarity the album played into our mood as a soundtrack for our drive.
A lot of people will criticize something that is knowingly arty, or alternately criticize the self-awareness that brings art to life. It is often brushed off as being pretentious or contrived. The five piece that is Ravens and Chimes, all classically trained musicians, may fall victim to such critiques, but looking out the window to the sound of glockenspiel and a voice questioning the haunting qualities of realization, I didn't get that vibe. While the comparisons to indie rock contemporaries The Arcade Fire are unavoidable, what the album Reichenbach Falls brings is an eloquent and adult perspective on contemplation to the sound of instrumentally charged tracks. The content works the familiar territory of post relationship lulls but adds the element of an urban setting as its backdrop. The effect this had on my feeble mind was creating an element of personal connection, which is not by any means to say the record has a universal quality, but for those who understand it, it sinks in.
While not without its faults, as the up-tempo tracks falter into monotony, Reichenbach Falls serves as a solid debut for the band. The crucial track comes in the form of “Eleventh St.,” a heartbreaking ballad dealing with the tribulations of getting older.
7.2 / 10
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