by Tarik Moody
If there’s one thing to take away from this album, it’s that these guys can harmonize! You wouldn’t know it right away, but this indie folk quintet hails from Dublin, Ireland; however, with the way that they evoke that feeling of Americana so effortlessly with those perfect five-part harmonies, most expertly on “My Love Took Me Down to the River to Silence Me”, it’s practically a sin that they don’t hail from the U.S. Seeing as this record is produced by Markus Dravs, who worked on the two Mumford & Sons albums, this only could’ve helped to highlight that soulful tone. But at the same time, the guitars, the heavy drums, and even the wurlitzer featured on some of the songs work to modernize the folk music in a way that makes it much more welcoming to a variety of audiences. Because of this, I exepect Little Green Cars to experience some serious longevity barring any irreconcilable intra-band conflicts.
Whether Stevie Appleby or Faye O’Rourke takes the the helm at lead vocals, it always sounds good and definitely makes for a nice variety. Furthermore, seeing as they each wrote the respective songs that they take the lead on, this offers different personal perspectives throughout the album, something that a lot of bands rarely attempt to accomplish.
Now, all of the tracks on Absolute Zero are tinged with this sense of youthful longing, love, and loss. And the fact that some members of the band aren’t even old enough to buy a beer here in the states yet they can still expertly emote through lyrics at such a young age is really impressive. That isn’t to say that all of the lyrics on this record are great though, as some just don’t make a whole lot of sense. For example, on “Goodbye Blue Monday” Appleby writes “And if my eyes start turning white/At least I’ll know that you thought/ I thought I was right.” Wait, what? Aren’t human eyes already white? And how would somebody else’s thoughts change what your eyes look like? It kind of sounds like he’s just fishing for rhymes that work with his chosen poetic meter.
If there is one song to absolutely avoid it’s “Red and Blue.” A heavily synthesized track with exclusively vocoded vocals, it sounds seriously out of place and isn’t even that great on it’s own. Though it does stand as a good example of what not to do when trying to make use of all the studio technology that is so popular these days.
And did I mention the harmonies?