Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Record review: Many Places - 'Another Oath'

By Jonathan White

Just as everything else we experience throughout the year swings in a seasonal pendulum of varying flavor, our year’s flow of music tends to follow the trend. Many Places, songwriting project of Chicagoan Kevin Rieg, conjures together those exact subtleties in debut album on Tandem Shop Records titled Another Oath. The themes are reflective, concentrating on renewal and progression through crude acoustic melodies, tender percussion and layers of proverbial lyricism.

Another Oath is a collection most appropriate for a blissful walk through one of Spring or Autumn’s most sedative days. The record’s intimate sound was developed inside a 10' x 8' room of a coach house, where it was written and recorded during same time making for a multifaceted conclusion to a work rooted back to 2009. Back then was when Rieg first plucked the first chords to the would-be capacious album closer, “Low Clouds."

“Helmet Hug,” Many Places’ introductory single, is chocked with shady, shivery guitar grit dampened with hollow synth and muggy vocal. “Blankenship,” a swaying instrumental, is more transition marker than song, dutifully preparing the slate for “Iowa," a wholehearted tale with a parading snare rhythm about the obviously venerated state. “Gold Leaf” has a simply bright melody that gradually arrives at and ends intricately. Another more distinguished instrumental, “Brontosaurus,” may not bolster its sound to the Jurassic creature it shares a title with, but stands as a majestic interval toward the end of the track list.

Many Places’ journey of renewal began in 2004 with Rieg’s arrival in Chicago, during this time performing under the names Hidden Mitten and Rabbit Red while making a presence through CD-Rs and opening for more widely acclaimed names such as Beach House. Another Oath widens the sieve for Rieg, striving to achieve a greater status himself with the help of live bandmates Matt Hennessey, Nick Godden, and Marcus Maloney. The album’s two themes of repetition and renewal fit curiously well together in songwriting, shifting from whole straightforward-ness to rocky, plucking melody. A better enjoyed solitary listen, Another Oath is a contemplative, genuinely purposeful album, linking the listener to the artist effectively in warm synchronicity.

Another Oath is available starting May 29th on Tandem Shop Records. Many Places will celebrate with a release show on June 10th at the Whistler.

TS009 Many Places - "Helmet Hug" by Tandem Shop

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