Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Review: 'How Long' by The Tower and The Fool


I wanted to open this review with a grand story of how I came across The Tower and The Fool: where I was the first time I heard them, the song I just had to know the lyrics to, the album I couldn't stop listening to.  Truth is, I can't remember.  I think I came across them on a thread about Hot Rod Circuit on AbsolutePunk.net.  I listened to what they had posted on Bandcamp, and really enjoyed it.  It got me through many a long work day.  But that was about it.  Life went on.  Then, randomly, I see that they have a new album coming out, How Long, today, April 24.  I've already given it a few listens and suddenly I'm pulled back in.  This time around, I'll definitely remember coming across The Tower and The Fool all over again.

The opening track "Dive Bar" is well-done, if typical, alt-folk/indie rock/etc fare.  The album finds its footing with "Scoliosis" and doesn't look back from there.  The variety in the tracks is astounding; "Fade Away" is fast paced and, instrumentally at least, upbeat.  Closing song "Who Does She Think She Is?" is slower and packs an emotional punch from the very first line.

Regardless of the song, you're guaranteed two things with each track of How Long: great music and incredible lyrics.  The instruments carry along each song perfectly.  There's a little bit of rock, a little country, and a handful of other genres thrown into each song.  It's simple but at the same time deceptively deep and layered, so much so that you'll be surprised at details you're catching even after multiple listens.

What is immediately obvious, though, is the impact of the lyrics.  The vocals and words are perfectly paired.  Try listening to "And I can't believe that sometimes things just fade away/Like the view of the coast from a sailor's eyes as he waves in the rain" or "'Got a problem,' he said/'I don't believe in God anymore'/'How did the water breach the shores?'" and not get chills, or at least go back and listen to those lines a few times in a row.

A couple of the songs on How Long have appeared on The Tower and The Fool's self-titled EP (including, conveniently, my two favorite), but there's plenty of new material to immerse yourself in.  How Long begs for a number of listens to get the full impact of everything it has to offer; you can connect with it just on the first spin, but you won't want to stop there.

http://runforcoverrecords.bandcamp.com/album/how-long

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