First Listen :: One spin, One review.
For years I've been seeing The New Students wow unknowing audiences each summer at Porch Stomp on Governors Island, but I'll admit this is the first time I've sat down with their recorded output. With a big show tonight at Rockwood Stage 2, now seemed like as good of a time as ever to get to know the bands discography, starting with Endless Sea, the newest record available now on bandcamp.
So, what is Endless Sea all about? After my first listen, I'm left with nodes of thoughtful songwriting, well composed arrangements, and echoes of traditional folk, chamber music, and a 70s feel-good pop-country aesthetic. This is a group never really gets dirty, a rarity in the roots world, and the album is balanced with ample highs and lows encapsulated with a bright, crisp, punchy recording style that serves well to document the brilliance of the arrangements and polished finesse. Knowing the band as a live unit for so long, its more clear than ever how their music comes to enrapture in a live setting.
Personally, I really enjoyed the tunes that I feel capture the bands buoyant, live dynamic. Tracks like "Talking With Your Ghost", "An Honest Man" and "Eleanor" not only sport tight harmonies and great composition by Justin and the gang but also an incredible sense of momentum and infectious movement. Likewise, tunes like "The Mountain" echo artists like the Dirty Projects (I'm thinking of songs like"Two Doves" that contain lush string arrangements, female vocal and finger-picked guitar"), where Briana's bright, lyric tone works as a complement to the ensemble (as it does throughout the record). I also really enjoyed the drummers sense of groove and fills on tunes like "Abigail".
I could see this as being an especially enjoyable recording for anyone who already understands the bands live dynamic (if you don't know it, tonight is your chance!), as well as fans of recordings by artists like Glenn Campbell or any of his ilk of artists. This is feel good music, so do yourself a favor and head to Rockwood Stage II tonight and catch this music in its prime state.
The Event Tonight
Ps. The New Students were rained out of PS 2017. While we didn't get to see them on the island, we did get this great photo in exchange. See the better, dryer version tonight at Rockwood!