Glorytellers, Atone

Glorytellers, Atone

Glorytellers is Geoff Farina’s (Karate, Secret Stars) roots project. More folk-oriented than anything else he’s done, Atone is a beautiful, mature album, with lots of his interesting details in the band parts. The Glorytellers are probably the best complement for his delicate singing style yet, with a restrained, almost singer-songwriter kind of sound where he doesn’t have to compete with the standard indie-rock lineup he’s normally played with.

Most of the songs here are great, but his slower tunes really shine. “Fours” is a beautiful slow ballad, with gorgeous harmonies on the choruses, ending with an interesting deconstruction of the song. “Black Maria” is another rollicking folk song, with an almost anthemically rousing melody and nice Peter Buck-type folk playing. One of the highlights of the album is “Softly As She Sings,” a great blues song reminscent of the Mountain Goats (although with harmonica and band) with some great lyrics:

Still the band keeps playing / I can hear those cymbals ringing
But I can’t understand the words / Softly as she’s singing
Just tell me what you got to tell me / I can take it on the chin
But please don’t you waste my time / With your drums and violins

His guitar playing is as interesting as any thing he did during his years with Karate. His electric guitar parts are as cool as ever, like the slightly whacked-out solo on “Books,” and the much more lyrical solos that he takes on “The Blue Flag of Europe.” And the band complements him well, particularly the second guitar player’s striking fingerstyle throughout the album, which matches his electric parts well. And the drummer’s wonderful brushwork drives the album perfectly. Together they have a great sound.

Glorytellers is a real step for Geoff Farina, with some of the best and catchiest melodies he’s ever written. And the folk-rock sound really works for him — it seems to have freed up his melodic sense more than any of his previous bands have. You wouldn’t have expected somebody known for complex music (and complex guitar playing — Karate occasionally covered jazz songs live) to write songs like the ones on Atone and have them work so well. Although Geoff always puts craft and skill into all of his music, so it shouldn’t be so much of a surprise, but it still is. Atone is an unexpected gem. More, please!

BUY ME: Amazon

Review by . Review posted Monday, May 24th, 2010. Filed under Features, Reviews.

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