Hey Marseilles: Lines We Trace

Written by March 8th, 2013 at 10:49 am

hey marseilles

Hey Marseilles
Lines We Trace
Onto/Thirty Tigers
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stasr

Hey Marseilles are from Seattle and it’s easy to tell. The dozen songs that make up Lines We Trace are saturated with a slippery shimmer, like the light that bounces off the bay of their wet, wintry homeland.

The opening track, “Tides,” introduces the album exactly as you would expect from the title: with swirling waves of woodwinds and strings, effervescent textures that call to mind the morning tides. Lead singer and co-founder Matt Bishop announces that “we left winter behind” on the second cut, “Heart Beats,” but the fury of Colin Richey’s drums tell us stormy emotional weather still abounds amidst Bishop’s declarations.

“Elegy,” a delicate pizzicato waltz serves to soothe the ravages of Richey’s storms while “Bright Stars Burning” offers a more propulsive bent, as Bishop warns: “Don’t rely on things you read on highway signs or magazines.”

With “Cafe Lights,” the band’s focus on traveling the seas of life comes to the full fruition. “Hold your map up right, so the clouds in coast align,” Bishop sings over Samuel Anderson’s cello as the sextet of dual guitar, piano, strings and percussion pay homage to the reedy compositions of Paul Simon, circa 1968.

Throughout the album, Bishop’s voice is pure and focused, with the slight tang of Ireland and the forthright emotion of Broadway. The melodies and arrangements are flowing and dynamic without as much as a wasted note, nods to Chopin and Mozart discernable but not overbearing. For fans of melodic pop with an orchestral bent, Lines We Trace is well worth a listen.

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