My No. 1 Seattle-area music crush is back with a new album, due out Oct. 6 on Hardly Art, a subsidiary of the Seattle indie goliath Sub Pop label. Their debut, "She's the Dutchess, He's the Duke" -- alongside The Tallest Man on Earth -- was my favorite release of last year. And this new one, Sunset / Sunrise, makes good on the promise they showed last year. Honestly, I don't think anything here quite reaches the pure joy of "Armageddon Song" (yes, joy), but it's a very worthy follow-up. They're still playing lo-fi folk ("campfire punk," as they've described it); they're still singing those almost-off-key harmonies; the songs primarily cover love, mostly lost.
The first song, "Hands," is the album opener and first single:
And the second here (third on the album) is a nice change of tempo:
Kimberly Morrison (the Dutchess) takes solo vocals on one track, "When You Leave My Arms," and I'm a little sad to say it's the one song that falls flat for me. Her voice is a great complement to Jesse Lortz's (the Duke), but doesn't quite work here ... and the whole thing explodes into this Specter-ish wash of orchestration about a minute in. It's a rare misstep on an otherwise very solid album. But that's the second-to-last track, and they make up for it, closing on another gem.
It's been on steady rotation since I managed to get my hands on a promo copy over the weekend. I will be buying the vinyl pressing when it comes out in another two weeks.
(Sorry for all of the words.)