‘War of the Songs of Light Against the Songs of Darkness’
“War of the Songs…” is a concept album, and Taft explores a lot of heavy themes over the course of its 80 minutes. All the greatest hits are here: war, love, hate, forgiveness. Taft hits all the metaphorical notes about as perfectly as he does the literal ones. Taft is a consummate musician, and his talents are on full display. Still, it’s a heady album and not one that’s meant to be played in the background while you do the dishes; Taft wants your attention throughout. Sometimes he’s completely worth of it: Kicker “The Illusion of Duality” is a rocking intro to the album. Other times Taft gets a little too heavy for his own good: “War” is a heavy-handed track that comes off as preachy. But Taft is one of the best musicians in the state, and “War of the Songs…” is a dynamic, thought-provoking album, worthy of any collection. CV
Austin Taft Soundtrack plays the Hull Avenue Tavern on Friday, Dec. 7 at 9 p.m.
“Northerner” is a chocolate sundae of an album: groovy, silky smooth and decadent. Dustin Smith sings like a beefed up John Meyer, and with the bluesy, soulful backing of the Sunday Silos, the album begs to be played while you’re doing something self-indulgent. While Smith’s vocals provide an earthy, solid base for the album, the backup work of Paige Harpin provides a light, soulful counterpoint. The album’s drawbacks are all both minor and common for debuts: There are a couple of questionable time changes, and the tracks have a uniform sound that goes beyond thematic consistency and nudges up against monotony. But the album never tips over the edge and becomes boring, and that’s a testament to the talent of the players involved: Smith and Harpin, backed most notably by Roland Hart’s sax, are a delight to listen to. CV
Dustin Smith and the Sunday Silos play the Vaudeville Mews on Saturday, Dec. 8, at 8 p.m.