I've always been interested in the correlation between hardcore and indie pop or folk music. Hrishikesh Hirway, playing under the moniker of The One AM Radio, has released numerous albums with Level-Plane, a label known mostly for their work with screamo and hardcore bands. Brandon Peck, singer of great hardcore band Wow, Owls! and now the soon to be great Mouthbreather, plays great, and unfortunately largely unheard, solo acoustic music. Superstitions of the Sky, despite the fact that they weren't all that good, were all the rage a few years ago when word came out that members of bands like Hot Cross and This Day Forward were doing an acoustic side project. And of course Ian MaKaye and Joe Lally have both moved on from Fugazi to do their own toned down music. And now there is Gabriel Garcia, former member of hardcore band Countervial, who has moved over to the maybe-not-so-distant world of acoustic folk music. With Crucifix My Baroquen Heart, Garcia proves he's made the right decision.
It's hard to compare the music on Crucifix My Baroquen Heart to one band or style, whether it be vocally of instrumentally. Vocally, at times Garcia sounds like a more polished Conor Oberst, and at times a rougher version of Sufjan Stevens. In terms of the music itself, there is an obvious Latin style of guitar, and influences range from everyone from Jack Johnson to The Spill Canvas. Other instruments are used sparingly as well to add to the calming effect, from quick drum beats to bells and cello. The end result is a very soothing effort, creating an atmosphere of being on a beach in Hawaii, to being in the desolate mountains of the Southwest, and everywhere in between.
Garcia is a storyteller at heart, and the songs are all tales of love and hate, life and everything that it has to offer. In one of the albums standout track, "All I Need," Garcia eloquently and simply sings "All I need in this world, and all I'll leave behind, is an old guitar, and a peace of mind."
These lyrics sum up Crucifix My Baroquen Heart very well. Garcia is able to simplify life to it's most basic forms, and listening to it you feel confident the only way to live this life is to do it simply. In "Eminorer," a beautiful cello laced song, Garcia coos "I'd follow you wherever you go, when our love is strong and that's all we know."
Garcia's ability to sing about life and love gives a very comforting feel, and as a listener you are easily able to trust in him and believe in what he has to say.
The only downfall of Crucifix My Baroquen Heart comes in its production value, which for some will not be a problem, but at times comes across too toned down. The goal of the album was to keep a distinct DIY feel, which is a very respectable thing in music today, but at times it hinders the album, as you have to strain to hear what is being sung.
Garcia hasn't reached the level of success those like Oberst and Stevens have obtained, but that may not be the point. Crucifix My Baroquen Heart is a very moving and calming album, and shows a lot of promise and hopefully more things to come from Garcia. Maybe there isn't much of a difference between hardcore and indie music, and if there is, Garcia is one of many helping to bridge a gap; Crucifix My Baroquen Heart is another brick in that bridge.
7.0 / 10
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