Monday, February 15, 2021

Roof Beams - This Life Must Be Long

While 2020 definitely had a devastating impact on the music industry as a whole, it also motivated many bands to approach things differently than they ever had before.  For the Roof Beams and their latest release, This Life Must Be Long, that meant everybody recording and arranging their parts remotely and then sending them to Nathan Robinson to do the final mix at his home.  I don’t know if it was this approach that made a difference or not, but while this Roof Beams album has all the hallmarks of their previous efforts, there is an evolution to the sound that is very refreshing.  Nathan’s lyrics are as strong as ever and very pertinent to the times we are currently living in.  He sums them up best as “reflecting a very timely anxiety and struggle for connection”. Musically the overall sound still has an indie roots vibe fleshed out at times with instrumentation like mandolin, pedal steel, banjo and harmonica, with tunes like “Outer Rings”, “Clean Break” and “Witness Me” really standing out. Then there are a few that step away from that like the hypnotic sounds of the title track, the dreamlike sound of “Carry On”, with the subtle keyboards and electronic elements really setting it apart, “Awareness", which harkens back to the rootsier songs but with some melodica and “Buckle", which has some beautiful textures to the instrumentation and percusssion.  Closing out the disc is “My Business”, my favorite track here and one that Nathan performed and recorded entirely on his own.  It’s a tune that moves in a completely different direction with lots of electronic sounds and keys creating an electro-indie rock vibe and really opening the door to all kinds of possibilities for the band in the future. 

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