Title: Lovely Things
Label: Future Destination Records
Release Date: 11/12/2013
Reviewer: Ty DeLong
- Full-Blown Fever Dream
- Flood of ’37
- Rescue Party
- A Billion Halloweens
- Haunted Jukebox
- Kid On the Milk Carton
- You Held Me Ransom
- Wingless Ravens
- Safe Keeping
- Distracted Men
- Shotgun Prayers
- My Babies
- Cradle to Grave
I’m not incredibly well-acquainted with Future Destination Records, save a few samplers I picked up a while back. Still, any time I come across a small label helping up-and-coming Christian bands distribute their music, I’m more than willing to check it out.
Cannonhands hails from Evansville, Indiana, and while they are a self-professed “rock n roll” band, Lovely Things delivers much more of an alternative punch, though not at the expense of a rock foundation. The instrumental opener, “Soteria,” launches with a much more foreboding feel than much of the album, but quickly introduces what I found to be the most unique aspect of the band, the cello. Nearly every track features the instrument in some capacity, often to great effect, in my opinion.
Much of the album features songs that aren’t too edgy, often with tambourine, slightly-overdriven guitars, and straight-forward drum backing. The band is also not afraid to mix it up with occasional synth elements, voice samples, and whatever other flair they think will add to the song. It’s for this reason that I consider this album in more of an alternative vein; the band does not shy away from doing things that may seem a little “out there.” Though I often tend to find such elements confusing or distracting, the band uses them well.
Clocking in at fifteen tracks and almost an hour of music, Lovely Things is certainly a long album. It’s hard for me to imagine all but the most veteran bands who wouldn’t sound repetitive at times in such a format. So despite the unique touches on most tracks, the overall sound did run together a bit for me except for some portions that were totally different, “You Held Me Ransom” and “Safe Keeping” in particular. I’m glad I stuck with the record to the end, however, because the final three tracks were my favorite.
The best for me was “Shotgun Prayers.” It begins with computer voice doing spoken word before pitch-shifting and opening into a piano and cello section which carries through the rest of the song. It also contains my favorite refrain from the album. “No more shotgun prayers / When I speak with You I want to be sincere.” The next-to-last song, “My Babies” is driven by a synth part from beginning to end and delivers another spiritual message about trying to get through life on our own strength.
Lastly, “Cradle to Grave” is certainly the band’s offering of an epic closing track, even bearing a similar title to a finale by Emery. This song actually reminded me of vintage Plankeye in places, which then made me realize that several of the tracks may fit that bill. After an instrumental interlude about midway through, the song builds back up to a big ending, edging up on the eight-minute mark.
Overall: Cannonhands deliver a lengthy album featuring a variety of alternative songs with some twists. It would be hard for any band to deliver fifteen perfectly unique and solid tunes in one shot, so I can’t fault them for including so much material. Nothing is really lacking with the album, but neither did anything in particular blow me away, despite some good moments. Varied instrumentation keeps the tracks somewhat distinct, and anyone with a heart for supporting indie rock should give this release a listen.
Lovely Things is available on the Future Destination Records store and all digital outlets.
RIYL: Blood and Water, Plankeye, Cake, Modest Mouse