The Long Fall Back to Earth
Diverse in sound yet focused in message, this thought-provoking and emotionally resonant release is consistently strong. The overriding themes here are love and responsibility, framed in terms of romantic uncertainties (“Safe to Land,” “There Must Be a Light”) and spiritual yearnings (“Closer,” “Heaven,” “Forgive Me”). Singer/lyricist Dan Haseltine shows particular insight when grappling with complacency and alienation in tracks like “Headphones” and “Scenic Route.” If tunes like “Weapons” have a bleak cast, “Two Hands” and “Heart” are radiant with hope. Musically, the album often recalls the bittersweet folk-pop of the band’s initial albums while drawing upon an expanded palette of ‘80s-style synthesizer and guitar sounds. Big, chunky chords are contrasted with delicate vocal harmonies and keyboard filigree, lending intricate textures to tracks like “Boys (Lesson One)” and the instrumental “The Long Fall.” The Long Fall Back to Earth finds this reliably creative foursome rising to a higher plateau.