After three years, the Traverse City trio finally releases a new studio recording this week. Like the musicians themselves, it’s buoyant and fresh – and will likely earn them more acclaim. Album review.
THE BAND: The Accidentals
THE MUSIC: Genre-melding indie-folk
WHERE YOU CAN SEE THE BAND: Noon Thursday for WYCE-FM’s GR Live at H.O.M.E. in The B.O.B in downtown Grand Rapids (with Frances Luke Accord); 9:30 p.m. Thursday at Founders Brewing Co. in Grand Rapids (with Michael Dause and Band of Bros); 8 p.m. Friday for the Maplewood Concert Series in Livonia; 6:30 p.m. Saturday at Pumpstock in East Lansing
The Accidentals have come a long, long way in the three years since their last official studio recording.
But after all of the national media acclaim (including being featured this past week on NPR’s “Weekend Edition”), non-stop touring, awards, commercial and TV placements and growing audience fervor, there are some things about this young, genre-twisting indie-folk trio from Traverse City that haven’t changed.
Multi-instrumentalists and singers Savannah Buist, Katie Larson and Michael Dause exhibit a musical and lyrical sophistication that outstrips most mainstream bands while retaining a deliriously infectious pop sheen. It makes listeners feel like every song is a buoyant summer drive on a crystal-clear sunny day. And they unfurl it all with the unbridled effervescence of youth.
All of that is on display on the band’s independently released seven-song “Parking Lot EP,” officially being released Wednesday. As Buist and Larson both put it, the album – recorded on the road and in two different studios – has been “a long time coming,” not only showcasing the group’s development over the past few years but also its uncanny ability to tap something new and sonically fresh in a world brimming with folk-rock copycats.
NON-STOP TOURING AND OVERCOMING ‘AN ENDLESS CYCLE OF OBSTACLES’
“All the songs represent pieces of our lives as we’ve gone through the transition of graduating high school, touring non-stop for two years and finally making the decision to self-produce the album,” Larson says. “Sometimes, it seems like an endless cycle of obstacles, but we have learned lessons from every single one and had lots of support along the way.”
While the band has performed a few songs regularly at concerts, “Sixth Street” and “Turn the Wheel” have rarely been heard, so the new EP finally gives fans the opportunity to embrace some new Accidentals music.
The opener, “Parking Lot,” gets reprised on the album’s final track with a guest appearance by Grand Rapids hip hop artist Rick Chyme, thus giving the rhythmically charming story of being stuck in a parking lot an extra jolt of folk-hop power and verve. (Back story: While on the road, the under-age musicians were once forced to wait in the parking lot outside a bar before and after their performance.)
Buist says the entire album represents “finally breaking out” of that parking lot – whether it’s the limitations of a recording contract or the obstacles faced on a grueling road trip.
In that vein, the seven songs on this EP resonate with artistic freedom – from unusual instrumentation and challenging beats to exuberance in declaring love for their home state on the undeniably catchy “Michigan and Again,” which has attracted hundreds of thousands of views for its video. (Watch that video and the official video for “Parking Lot” below.)
If nothing else, as The Accidentals move forward with what is likely to be an album deal and further success on the road, “Parking Lot EP” represents another engaging step forward on what’s already been an impressive musical journey. Fans and critics alike are eager to see what comes next.
Buist says the new EP represents “a snaphot in time.”
As such, it’s a pretty picture indeed.
What else is coming down the pike? Check out a roster of upcoming Michigan album releases.
VIDEO: The Accidentals, “Michigan and Again”
VIDEO: The Accidentals, “Parking Lot”
Copyright 2016, Spins on Music LLC