Alpenglow, Solitude EP | Music Feature | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

Seven Days needs your financial support!

Alpenglow, Solitude EP 

Album Review

cd-reviews-alpenglow.jpg

(Self-released, CD, digital download)

It’s hard to recall a Vermont band that has spawned so much admiration for having done so relatively little as Burlington’s Alpenglow. Since the then-Middlebury-based quintet’s unofficial coming-out party at the 2012 Waking Windows festival in Winooski, it’s been almost universally regarded as a most promising new band — with barely a demo tape to its credit. As such, expectations are abnormally — and perhaps unfairly — high for the band’s freshman effort. So it is that Alpenglow’s EP, Solitude, finally arrives, preloaded with hype and hopes that hardly any band could live up to, especially on a debut. But here’s the crazy thing: Alpenglow do.

Solitude is not just a remarkable debut; it’s a remarkable record, period. At a mere four songs and 21 minutes, one could wish for a bit more, especially given the aforementioned expectations. I’d suggest those who feel cheated simply put the disc on repeat. Densely layered and nuanced, with an array of delicate changes and accents, Solitude is a rare record that genuinely deepens with each listen.

The title track opens the EP with a bright, arpeggiated electric guitar line. It’s almost clumsily picked, but those uneven rhythmic fluctuations tease a bristling energy that explodes in a wash of violin, guitar, drums and voices at the hook. That polyphony recedes to a beautiful, harmony-laden bridge before blooming again at the finish.

Alpenglow are commonly — and with reasonable accuracy — compared to the likes of the Low Anthem and Fleet Foxes. Solitude will not dispel those comparisons. In particular, “Catskills” and its lonely falsetto vocals eerily evoke the Low Anthem’s Ben Knox Miller and his stirring performance on “Charlie Darwin,” from that band’s 2008 debut, Oh My God, Charlie Darwin. It’s hero worship. But it’s the best kind: mimicry that lovingly honors its source material while forwarding an original artistic idea.

“Autumn Drone (Part II)” is a tender elegy to fading friendships, probably potent subject matter to a group freshly out of college. Following that, “Fields” closes the EP on a melancholy note. It’s a wandering, piano-based composition that simmers with tension before a sturdy backbeat succumbs to spastic fiddle runs and ghostly, tumbling vocals. This is the recording’s most daring arrangement, and it offers a tantalizing hint as to what Alpenglow may have in store on future releases.

Solitude by Alpenglow is available at alpenglowmusic.bandcamp.com.

Got something to say? Send a letter to the editor and we'll publish your feedback in print!

About The Author

Dan Bolles

Dan Bolles

Bio:
Dan Bolles is Seven Days' assistant arts editor and also edits What's Good, the annual city guide to Burlington. He has received numerous state, regional and national awards for his coverage of the arts, music, sports and culture. He loves dogs, dark beer and the Boston Red Sox... more

Comments


Comments are closed.

Since 2014, Seven Days has allowed readers to comment on all stories posted on our website. While we’ve appreciated the suggestions and insights, the time has come to shut them down — at least temporarily.

While we champion free speech, facts are a matter of life and death during the coronavirus pandemic, and right now Seven Days is prioritizing the production of responsible journalism over moderating online debates between readers.

To criticize, correct or praise our reporting, please send us a letter to the editor. Or send us a tip. We’ll check it out and report the results.

Online comments may return when we have better tech tools for managing them. Thanks for reading.

Keep up with us Seven Days a week!

Sign up for our fun and informative
newsletters:

All content © 2020 Da Capo Publishing, Inc. 255 So. Champlain St. Ste. 5, Burlington, VT 05401  |  Contact Us
Website powered by Foundation