Album Review : Alameda : Seasons/Spectres

With the eternal hope of spring comes Seasons/Spectres, the full-length debut from Portland’s Alameda. It’s a sparkling offering of spine-tingling spiritual musings carefully fused with humbled earthly entreaties from the talents of Stirling Myles, Jessie Dettwiler and Jenn Woodall. With an ever-changing cast of collaborators from regional symphonies, this trio on guitar, cello and clarinet respectively, with their tenderly crafted arrangements and mesmerizing harmonies, will haunt you in the loveliest possible way. I can’t think of a more fitting album title for this deeply introspective and copiously atmospheric musical journey of the spirit. Lying somewhere within the vicinity, yet slightly northwest of the mischievous scores Mark Mothersbaugh creates for Wes Anderson flicks, or the fantastical arrangements that comprise a Sufjan Stevens album, Alameda plays it closer to the chest by means of a uniquely eloquent restraint. Fans of the Avett Brothers, Devotchka, and Low will be grateful for yet another exciting discovery of extraordinarily talented instrumentalists, vocalists and songwriters.

Seasons/Spectres is a vast vessel of intricate orchestral beauty accompanied by honeyed voices cooing darkly poignant melodies. Dettwiler’s cello and Woodall’s clarinet add a sorrowful depth to even the most hopeful of lyrics, while their angelic harmonies on the first single New Leaf are on par with the sweetly baptismal croonings of an Alison Krauss or Emmylou Harris. New Leaf  begins with a nostalgic Kermit the Frog-esque banjo-plucking and the melancholic appeal of Myles soothing vocal, but it soon swells into an earnest, bouncing, toe-tapper of pure musical splendor and woebegone yearnings. And it has hand claps. Did I mention hand claps? I love hand claps.

The first song Rotating Hospital is another standout; all layered guitars, woeful cello and beautifully whispered moments that fade off into an achingly exquisite climax. Lullaby is an instrumental so dazzling and bursting with verve you‘ll play it again and again. And the country-gospel flavored Silver Hands is yet another revelation, full of warm strumming, tambourines and quietly cascading harmonies. Seasons/Spectres is both haunting and hypnotic, folksy and soulful. Laden with heart swelling angst and hushed meditations, it’s a stunning slow-burn of orchestral pop you won’t want to miss. The official album release is March 5th 2011 at the Someday Lounge in Portland.

MP3 : Alameda – New Leaf

-Post by Miss Dolly Mod

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