If Bon Iver and The Carpenters had a love child, then it will definitely be Swear and Shake. Their new musical venture, Maple Ridge, paints a fresh new color to the somehow predictable indie folk landscape.
Hailing from New York, the band is composed of Kari Spieler, Adam McHeffey, Shaun Savage, and Thomas Elefante. The quartet was formed last 2010 upon an encounter between Kari and Adam who then recruited two of his long-time friends Shaun and Tom. After that, the rest is history filled with live performances, tours across the US, and opening acts for big musicians like Alison Krauss and Ray LaMontagne.
Marble opens the collection with a plethora of instrumentation ranging from warm acoustic guitar to jazzy horns. This little piece of sunshine features charming vocal interplays and lines that evoke innocence and young love.
Kari’s saccharine voice adorns our ears in These White Walls. Slow-paced parts grow into a celebration of rhythm and danceable melodies.
In Find Her Way, a louder and drum-infused Swear and Shake meets the eager listeners. Adam’s rugged, stripped-down delivery shines through.
Using the piano as a forefront to the piece, Moving Parts is a melancholic ballad. But the band surprises us in the middle when loud drum strums steps onto the scene creating a well-executed contrast in one piece. Humming to a Sea Snail, on the other hand, stands within the periphery of traditional folk music. Press play and let these songs transport you to ethereal soudscapes.
Hand and Foot, Head and Soul is one passionate and edgy love song. Healthy doses of loud drum beats and electric bass shower the track with a psychedelic, chill-out vibe. As the album comes to an end, the band treats us with The Light where they return to the basic folk elements creating an equal balance between vibrant melodies and sweet vocals.
Swear and Shake is in a league of its own. The band’s exploration on new melodies, self-penned verses, and clever instruments produce tracks that will change our perception on indie folk music.
Overall, Maple Ridge is that kinds of album that bravely experiments outside the box without compromising its folk charm. It’s a pristine full-length album that will surely ignite your ears.
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