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Album Reviews, Music

Album Review: The Head and the Heart – “Living Mirage”

By: Kirstin Bews

 

 

The Head and The Heart are back with their fourth studio album, Living Mirage, which is set for release on May 17th via Warner Bros. Recently the band has gone through some lineup changes with co-founder Josiah Johnson leaving amicably and being replaced by Matt Gervais and keyboardist Kenny Hensley returning to the fold. Bassist, Chris Zasche, describes Living Mirage as a rebirth that is the result of growing pains from their last release Signs of Light. The change ups and traveling have influenced this album with Living Mirage standing for an intangible reality.

Living Mirage gets off to a strong start with “See You Through My Eyes”. Starting with a string of vocals harmonizing like something out a lullaby, a dull beat picks up the steady rhythm. A song about commandery, and wishing that someone could see themselves through the eyes of someone who loved them for who they are. The premise “until you learn to love yourself the door is locked to someone else” is an example of the positive introspective thought that the band is known for projecting through their music. The peppy start is entirely lost with the last song “Glory of Music” with the slow-moving love song with vocalist Jonathan Russell’s voice whistling over the gentle strumming of an acoustic guitar that makes the album drift off in a folky ballad.

The Head and the Heart’s usual indie-folk sound is prominent throughout Living Mirage, however, the album’s single “Missed Connection” stands out from the rest of the album with its groove beating to a much faster rhythm. Originally written about Russell meeting his girlfriend, the song morphed into a story of the band’s origin. “Missed Connection” illustrates the band’s internal anxiety following the growth spurt of their recent changes. The track conveys jittering anxiety while portraying an evolving feeling of change. The Head and The Heart have come along way since meeting at an open mic in Seattle and the bursts of pop music bliss emphasize the anxiety-fueled excitement.

With starting or adapting to new changes, anxiety often creates feelings of imposters syndrome. Track five, “Brenda”, gives listeners a feeling of “what am I doing here?”. It’s like you’re a teenager at a house party, and you’re “moving around the room like a shadow on the wall” while contemplating leaving until you see a certain someone that makes you decide to stay. Throughout this album, like their previous records, the singing is shared. In “Brenda” Russell’s fast-paced raspy voice is countered by Charity Rose Thielen’s drawn-out feminine voice. The conversation between the two voices creates a dynamic space of dialogue.  

The Head and the Heart are touring Living Mirage across North America this fall. 

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