reviewed by Sebastian Gahan | Monday, September 19th, 2011

A deceptive cloud of noise opens this release from Restorations before segueing into a drumbeat and acoustic strum that entices you into the opener “Nonlocality.” The song seems to set an underlying theme of the album which is best described in its opening lines  of “finding less in the big picture,” whilst “finding strength in the details,” which is certainly an excellent songwriting choice.

This ease of listening continues throughout, and although the music is forward-thrusting, almost taking you on a journey, you don’t feel like you’re being pulled along unwillingly at any point. This music could soundtrack a drive into the distance with your destination unknown and you’d be completely at ease with what fate may have in store for you. The song titles too are pleasingly different, with a good amount of dark humor evident on occasion. Good examples of this include “Neighborhood Song,” a pleasing semi-acoustic ode to a dark life in a small town. The rough hewn vocals of the band fuse with the almost country-punk sound to make an infectious song that touched me like all good music should.

The rest of the album is also excellent, with songs such as “Canadian Club” and the bass-infused “Sideways House” edging their way into your subconsciousness very easily; the latter shows off a progressive sound with an atmospheric production that lifts the imagery of the lyrics right to the fore. Similarly, the perhaps oddly titled “Broken Vacuum” (at first giving me images of beating up domestic equipment) has nothing to do with cleaning appliances, but instead concerns “plans that never panned out.” The open spaces of the production on this album and especially this track really do bring out the emotional depths and an almost punk edge, and there’s never once a moment where the forward button is a temptation.

(Tiny Engines, PO Box 12268, Charlotte, NC 28220)