Speak Into My Good Eye

Roots & Bells by Town Hall

Matt Ascone May 5, 2012 New Music, SIMGEssentials 1 Comment


Brooklyn-based three-piece Town Hall has a bevy of stories to tell on its debut full-length release Roots & Bells. Some are uplifting, some are, quite frankly, depressing but each takes the listener on a captivating ride from start to finish.

Members Stefan Weiner, Phoebe Ryan, and Jesse Kranzler (as well as a full cadre of guest musicians playing everything from glockenspiels to vibraphones) are masterful at crafting these tales both with compelling lyrics and skillful instrumentation.

Weiner and Ryan’s vocals shine through on this record, especially when the pair is entrenched in series of harmonization. Weiner has a unique way of articulating and drawing out words to fit his melodies, not unlike Colin Meloy of The Decemberists, while Ryan’s styling possesses a magnetic breathlessness that draws the listener in close.

Town Hall has a gift for composing gorgeous melodies that span a wide range of genres. While the group’s clear influences are indie-folk, there is a distinct country flavor as is evidenced on the Jenny Lewis-esque track “The Strongest of Hands.”

This is an album to be savored – one that takes many repeated listens to fully appreciate the musical intricacies. The quality of musicianship rivals anything that is on the indie scene these days. While some of the Ryan-led tracks do sound somewhat similar, one of Town Hall’s greatest assets is their ability to never “sit still” within a song. They move gracefully from verse to verse, all the while weaving in and out of catchy riffs and fills without it feeling jumpy or disconnected.

MUST HEAR TRACKS: “Rockefeller,” is a tale of a man down on his luck who finds a one hundred dollar bill.

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