Progressive rock, Psychedelic folk
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Fleet Foxes, The Shins
The combination of Psychedelic folk and rock can be stimulating and comforting, especially when a band is able to take their time and write well-structured songs. Priestbird’s 2011 album Beachcombers, produced by Pearl Jam’s Stone Gossard is evident of this as all nine songs are allowed to breath and develop. Each song takes on a life of its own, giving the album an overall hallucinatory, trippy, dream-like vibe. Beachcombers is a very pleasant and unique listen, at times the album will put your mind at ease with its soft, 60’s acoustic folk vibe, and other times it may have you on edge with a distorted psychedelic rock feel. Priestbird is made up of three main band mates: Gregory Rogove (vocals, drums, percussion, piano), Saunder Jurriaans (vocals, guitar, mandolin, bass) and Danny Bensi (vocals, cello, guitar, bass, percussion). Additional guest musicians include Keith Lowe (bass) on "Gone," "Stay," and "Color Loom" and Chris O'Connell (bass) on "Bright Wind". As you can see from the musicians listed there was a lot of time and patience put into this album and it shows.
You’ll know what you’re in for from the onset of the first cut “Color Loom”. It will draw you in with its acoustic finger plucking and vocal harmonies. The song goes through many peaks and valleys of acoustic folk arrangements while the addition of the cello adds a sense of soft depth. This song has a style that resembles a trippy version of The Avett Brothers. The soft and pleasant “Stay” shows a simple side of the band. Between the cello and spacious percussion, it’s a gratifying song. The striking “Bright Wind,” one of the highlights of the album is terrific. Lyrically, it’s beautiful and the piano along with a sporadic use of the cello brings this one to another level. This song has a slight resemblance to Fleet Foxes when they are at their finest and it will engross you.
The whimsical “Gone” is a playful ditty with dark lyrics. The mandolin plucking, friendly rhythm will soon lead us to a brief stormy, dark cello outbreak. Than its back to the upbeat vibe; it’s very unusual and different. The gritty “Diamond,” is albums fifth track and it’s a pounding psychedelic trip. The steady bass holds this one together as the band gets a bit heavier here. The drums really take over while the feedback and distortion give this song a dirty, bluesy feel and the raspy vocals just tie it all together. The next track “Who Will Lead Us” is a lazy Sunday morning kind of song that didn’t hit us right away, probably because it comes right after the previous track. After a few listens we seem to have gotten attached to it with its easygoing vibe. Next up is the spacious, acoustic trip “All That’s Lost” and this one is mesmerizing with intriguing lyrics and terrific acoustics too match. “Be Sure,” the second to last track could be the most unusual one on the album. Between the echoed background vocals, the cello and distorted drums, this one is a psychedelic piece of art. The last track “Yellow Noon” provided us with a slight psychedelic Oasis-like feel; it’s a nice song to bring us out to close.
Priestbird have brought us an entertaining and unusual album with Beachcombers. The way they fuse psychedelic folk and rock together is impressive. They definitely have a formula that can take them far and create an underground buzz. - 12/18/2014
Standout Tracks: Bright Wind, Diamond, Be Sure