Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Friday Mile transforms a British acoustic/piano formula into American success

March 9, 2010

FridayMileUp at Timber Carnival Records, they like Americans that aspire to be British. Yesterday’s Hello Morning found their jumping-0ff point in early Radiohead albums, while today’s Friday Mile takes their cues from early Coldplay records.

Friday Mile’s Good Luck Studio is essentially what would have happened if Coldplay had written an album between Parachutes and A Rush of Blood to the Head. Neither preoccupied with dreamy acoustic soundscapes or serious piano epics, these songs inhabit a transitionary space that allows the tunes to swing back and forth between the extremes. There’s some songs that ratchet up toward “Daylight” or “Politik”-level piano songs, and there are tunes that drop down toward a “Sparks” or “Trouble” level of melancholy. But this is no Coldplay rip-off, as Friday Mile has an ace in their sleeve that makes them different: Hannah Williams’ vocals.

Hannah Williams’ versatile voice molds itself to different moods very well; from ghostly backups to plaintive harmony to resonant lead vocals, she opens up a whole other part of the Coldplay-esque sound and transforms Friday Mile’s songwriting into an unexpected affair. These songs would still be incredible without Williams’ voice, but my attention was kept rapt, wondering when the next time Hannah Williams would sing would be.

The album blows by, taking down ten songs in 33 minutes. Each song has its own delights, from the prominent bass work of “Even I” to the acoustic pop bliss of “Lives of Strangers” to the jaunty piano and dissonant guitar of “Handle It” to the wistful keys of “Adorable Machine.” This album doesn’t repeat songs, but the songs still flow. The goals of the songs may be different, but they’re not so disparate as to disjoint the album.

This album’s mood is light but serious; it can easily be played as entertaining background music, but it stands up to close scrutiny as well. This is about as high a compliment as I can give; it’s artistically sound and entertainingly sound. I expect many more good things from Friday Mile, as their sound is just too good to pass up. Good Luck Studio is a fantastic full-length debut that will give listeners prolonged enjoyment. Look for its tracks in soundtracks of sitcoms and films near you soon.  Also, look for it in your CD player and iTunes. Cause it should and will be there too.

Stephen Carradini and Lisa Whealy write reviews of instrumental, folk, and singer/songwriter music. We write about those trying to make the next step in their careers and established artists.

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