Thursday, March 3, 2016

Listen: Alpenglow - "Solitude"

Considering their affiliation with Lucius, it's a wonder I didn't discover newly relocated folk pop foursome Alpenglow sooner. But timing is everything and if I had jumped into Alpenglow back two years and change when they toured together, "Solitude" probably wouldn't have hit me as hard as it did. Or maybe it would've considering the version on their recently released debut album Callisto is an updated version of the track originally featured on an EP released right around the time Lucius took them on tour.

While the original version of "Solitude" was a more downtempo acoustic number with chamber pop flourishes thrown in for taste, the new version finds the band flushing out their harmony laden folk with a psychedelic trim. Part of that is through the inclusion of synthesizers instead of acoustic guitar and violin that framed the original version. It's slight but the minimal touch does wonders adding an engaging lushness and freshness to the sound. Originally written when songwriter Graeme Daubert moved from the city to Vermont and then reworked when the band found itself back in Brooklyn, there's a sort of poetic irony in its oft repeated lyric "If I wanted my solitude I'd move to the city". Not just because the city is often thought of as the least solitude-friendly place (although any city-dweller could tell you otherwise) but also because Daubert has ended up doing just that.

"Solitude" finds Alpenglow adding new elements to their sound but ultimately knowing when to just let the ear-catching melodies do their job. They've shaved about two minutes off the original's runtime but make the most of their more radio-friendly length - balancing the electronic adornments with straightforward presentation that leaves them on the right side of infectious folk pop.

Alpenglow's debut album Callisto is out now on Chizu Records.

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