Hearts

Hearts

by The Court & Spark

CD

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Overview

Hearts

By the time indie Americana group the Court & Spark were making their fourth full-length album, Hearts, they were already pretty certain about their sound -- a calming, introspective mix of lap steel, acoustic guitars, poetic lyrics, and the occasional background sound effect -- which had been perfected in their 2004 releases, Witch Season and Dead Diamond River. So, understandably, they didn't change much for their next record. If anything is different, it's that Hearts is sadder than anything else the band has produced, with lyrics that speak -- often abstractly -- of loss, regret, and loneliness. Even the love songs, like "Birmingham to Blackhorse Road We Wandered," have a melancholy to them ("On my way through the gardens/I cried foul at my love gone forever"), and "High Life," which has M.C. Taylor singing "It's the high life for me/It's good to be free/It's the high life for me," is so slow and sad that it's obvious that at best, he's accepting mistakes he's made in the past and is trying to move on, but there's really no celebration or happiness. And while musically Hearts stays pretty close to what the Court & Spark have always done (an exception would be the vacuous opening song, "Let's Get High," which sounds like a single off the follow-up album of a nameless mid-'90s adult contemporary band that had once found moderate success), the four instrumentals on the album are where the band actually gets to show off. They experiment with different genres, incorporating indie rock, jazz, classical, and electronica influences while still maintaining their own style, and it sounds nice and doesn't disrupt the overall tone of the album. Though it's nice to have that consistency, it wouldn't be bad to see how the band could set these pieces to words and challenge Taylor's voice, which stays a little too frequently in a comfortable four- or five-note range. Listeners know he can do more (there are hints of it in "Capaldi") and that the band can do more (as heard in Witch Season) -- so even though Hearts is a nice album, a comfortable album, its safety is a little disappointing.

Product Details

Release Date: 05/02/2006
Label: Absolutely Kosher
UPC: 0653225005727
catalogNumber: 57

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Court & Spark   Primary Artist
Dick Bright   Violin
Tom Heyman   Pedal Steel Guitar
Inara George   Background Vocals
Patrick Main   Piano
Marc Capelle   Flugelhorn
Jason Molina   Background Vocals
Dan Carr   Bass Guitar,Background Vocals,Hand Clapping
Paul Hoaglin   Background Vocals,Mellotron
M.C. Taylor   Acoustic Guitar,Banjo,Harmonica,Mandolin,Piano,Hammond Organ,Electric Piano,Ukulele,Vocals,Vibes,Hammered Dulcimer,Lap Steel Guitar
Scott Hirsch   Organ,Synthesizer,Acoustic Guitar,Banjo,Percussion,Piano,Electric Guitar,Harmonium,Hammond Organ,Ukulele,Background Vocals,Moog Synthesizer,Vibes,Hand Clapping,farfisa organ,bass pedals
James Kim   Percussion,Drums,Tambourine,Bells,Hand Clapping
Zoe Keating   Cello
David Graham Taylor   Trumpet,Human Whistle
Jessica Vohs   Background Vocals
Steve Adams   Upright Bass
Trevor Garrod   Piano,Clavinet,fender rhodes
Miranda Zeiger   Background Vocals
Christina Zirker   Harp
Kim   Tambourine
Carr   Bass Guitar
Taylor   Acoustic Guitar,Vocals

Technical Credits

Sean Coleman   Engineer
Court & Spark   Audio Production
M.C. Taylor   Composer
Scott Hirsch   Composer,Engineer,drum programming,Loop
Linda Aldredge   Artwork

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