Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Upwelling - "An American Stranger"

The Upwelling are an American rock band in the old-school tradition, with a DIY attitude, heartfelt story-book lyrics and simple but understated instrumentation. The band consists of the Ingber brothers: songwriter/singer/guitarist Ari and Josh on the drums as well as keyboardist Conor Heffernan. Their debut full-length, An American Stranger was released today on Edmond Records, a subsidiary of Doghouse Records.

“American Girls” opens the album with jabbing guitars and a steady beat, while lyrically exposing the torture of trying to meet a woman’s lofty, romanticized expectations with lyrics, like “…An honest kiss won’t suffice. They want one to remember for the rest of their lives.” The soaring chorus on “Garden” is surrounded by shimmering guitar strumming and keyboards, making it radio ready and fun to sing along with. “Wanderlust” is led by the bass and a tight, locked-in beat on the verse with the guitars making their appearance on the melodic chorus. ”Who Needs You Now” slows it down a bit and features beautiful harmonies and lush, ambient instrumentation. Other standouts include the bouncy New Order-like guitars and contrasting gloom on “Paris” and the melodic rocking on “Little Darling”. They give way to the album’s most poignant and powerful song on “Ladder 116” which was written on the confusing day after 9/11. The beautiful atmosphere that the vocals and keyboards create is torn down by a wall of guitars, creating a dynamic metaphor of the tragedy, showcasing their stellar songwriting skills.

After touring with bands like Third Eye Blind and Metric and enlisting producers such as Stephan Jenkins from Third Eye Blind and Jason Hill (Louis XIV), The Upwelling have put together a debut album that delivers above and beyond the hype and should gain them even more hard-earned and well-deserved attention.


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