Two Foot Yard
(Borrowed Arms)
2008
Crank this to 8 of 11
Genre:
Folk, Jazz
Sounds Like:
Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Experiment, Rasputina, Peggy Sue
2 Foot Yard may be an unusual band name, but it’s also intriguing, as is their blend of off-beat jazzy music.  This San Francisco trio has released two albums and their latest 2008’s Borrowed Arms is unique and authentic. This album will take you on a trip through inventive and unusual soundscapes that are very enjoyable. It is artful, jazzy with elements of folk and rock as well, so it’s safe to say they have packaged up an album that is pretty original. The musicians have been in various other projects, so this may be a side venture from time to time. The talent on this album is incredible as they use a boatload of instruments to portray a unique vibe that they can all their own, here is a breakdown of instruments used on this one:

Music composer Carla Kihlstedt: Vocals, violin, e-string violin and glockenspiel.

Marika Hughes: Vocals, cello, sub-synthesizer and pedals.

Shahzad Ismaily:
Drums, percussion, guitar, banjo, bass, squeeze box, piano, chamberlain and vocals.

The opening track "Octopus" is a mid-temp offbeat jazzy affair that will suck you in right away; the use of the banjo, guitar and violin complement each other very well. The vocals of Carla are soft and sultry and they remain this way are throughout. The backing vocals are a key touch, giving the song added depth and likeability, great first track. There tends to be a soft, moody side to the album with songs like "Borrowd Arms," "Plane Song,"  "Newbury Street" and "The Great Escape". These tracks have very intriguing lyrics and although they are laidback and easygoing, some of the strongest and interesting parts of the album can be found nestled among them. Whether it’s the use of the dueling female vocalists or the sullen sound of a cello and violin, we urge you to give them a close listen as they are simply beautiful.

Another aspect to this album is the exploratory nature within some of the songs, making you think "wow, where did this come from?" They seem to have this tenacity to draw you in and keep you intrigued throughout. Perfect examples of this exploration are found within the tribal rhythm of "Seven Horses" or the irregular structure of "Crisis" and even in the oddest and most captivating song on the album "Whistle Past The Graveyard".  This song is dark and morose; it has so much going for it. The use of whimsical background vocals and soft chants along with the murky violin and cello give this song a storybook feeling.

Borrowed Arms is an unusual album that will definitely add some diversity within your collection. The lyrics, the mood, the diversity and the level of musicianship are all well-defined traits that make up this album. It’s a style that is fresh and unique, something we don’t here enough of today. - 8/4/2014

Standout Tracks: Whistle Past The Graveyard, Plane Song, Chapter IV
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