Review: Signs of Light – The Head and the Heart

albu Seattle-based indie-folk band The Head and The Heart are back with their third album, the aptly named Signs of Light.

Following their LPs The Head And The Heart (2011) and Let’s Be Still (2013), the 13 new tracks see the band expand their sound in a more mainstream direction.

They remain folky, but openly embrace pop and rock, resulting in a solid, easy-to-listen-to but slightly too polished record.

The strong opener All We Ever Knew is catchy, euphoric and dreamy. It sets the scene for 50 minutes of lush, multi-layered folk-pop carried by the voices of Jonathan Russel, Josiah Johnson and Charity Rose Thielen.

While songs like the joyful Turn It Around and All We Ever Knew definitely benefit from the wider soundscape, some songs would work better with a simpler, more reduced sound. This would give the generally very beautiful melodies more room to shine.

The Head And The Heart sound a lot more joyful and sunnier for this album. It’s not quite  what you would  expect from a band based in ever-rainy, cloudy Washington State, the birthplace of grunge.

Considering that the album was largely written in a bungalow on a beach in California and recorded in Nashville, this is probably not surprising, though-it must be hard to be moody and depressing when you can go surfing whenever you need a break from work.

Their euphoric sound already got the band appearances on several US talk shows and the TV series Roadies, and in the next few months they will be touring the United States and Europe (including shows in Birmingham, Glasgow, London and Manchester).


This is the bands major label debut. Photo: James Minchin

Signs of Light is the perfect soundtrack for a lazy Sunday afternoon at home: joyful, sunny and relaxed. It could certainly do with a few edges and more boldness, but apart from that it is a well-made and absolutely enjoyable album.

If you are into folky pop and rock, you should definitely give it a listen.