The Head and the Heart stick to folk-pop roots

The Head and the Heart offer fare similar to the Lumineers and Of Monsters and Men, but infuse pop music sensibilities into their brand of folk.  (Photo provided by apesontape.com)
The Head and the Heart offer fare similar to the Lumineers and Of Monsters and Men, but infuse pop music sensibilities into their brand of folk. (Photo provided by apesontape.com)

The Head and the Heart met minor success in 2011 with its self-titled debut album. Now, after opening up for bands such as Vampire Weekend and Death Cab For Cutie, the Seattle-based band is ready to release its sophomore album, titled “Let’s Be Still.”

The Head and the Heart’s second album attempts to bring in a larger audience with a slightly more upbeat sound, while still sticking to its folksy roots.

Just as The Lumineers reached widespread success outside of the folk world last year, The Head and the Heart hopes to achieve the same level of prominence both in the folk and the mainstream world.

To some degree, the folk-indie singers may achieve some slight success. Their unique sound, however, may not be catchy enough to turn them into breakthroughs.

The title song, “Let’s Be Still,” is one of the album’s strongest. The song’s sound is in line with the band’s roots, but also brings about new instrumentals to create a more synthetic beat. Listeners to the song will feel as though they are watching the end of a movie, or reaching the final song on their prom night because of its humming, laid back sound.

The lead track, titled “Homecoming Heroes,” is a new endeavor for the normally quieter lullabies the band has been known to focus on.  Sounding similar to a track off of Of Monsters and Men’s debut album, the track offers up sweet violins and melodic vocals, one of a few songs that has the potential to become a crossover hit.

Another song that offers up a characteristically different sound from the band’s original album is “Shake.” The album’s lead single, “Shake,” is much more engaging then some of their previous work. Its beat is catchy and, like The Lumineers’ summer hit, “Ho Hey,” the song will incite feelings of summer nights filled with mason jar lights and hay bales.

This is where “Let’s Be Still” faces its main issue. With similarities to other albums and music, The Head and the Heart seem to have lost some originality with its newest record.

Also of note, the fact that “Let’s Be Still” has quite a few tracks that sound identical to previous ones. The lack of differentiation between some tracks, such as “Another Story” and “Cruel,” only hurts the band when comparing it to bands like Of Monsters And Men or The Lumineers, whose albums offer diversity in                                                        between songs.

“Let’s Be Still” is a slightly above average compilation of folk tunes that will strongly appeal to fans of the genre. The Head and the Heart’s sophomore album acts as a stepping stone past its first album’s slow, dreary tunes. The album is filled with more upbeat tunes and crossover potential, and will surely be an indie music lovers dream.  Bringing in classic folk sounds, combined with more pop-music instrumentals and beats, The Head and the Heart’s second album is worth it; even if some tracks seem repetitive or slightly unoriginal.

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