I first heard Food Will Win The War during a live performance on the Late Show with Dave Letterman and liked them right away. They have a very cool and laid back style that I really enjoy. The band simply creates beautiful music, like the kind featured on their latest release, A False Sense of Warmth. The album is full of consistent lyricism, credible musicianship and a true transparency to their music.
The soft opening to “Chester Street” is misleading as the track explodes into an enveloping shower of serious sound. The vocals of Rob Ward (guitar, vocals) and Dara Matthews (glockenspiel, keyboard, vocals) are perfectly in sync and mildly assertive as guitars, chimes and the violin (courtesy of Jeff Young) thicken out the brooding melody. “Closer to Water” builds similarly, bursting into a gust of ethereal sound. Pay attention to Dan Barman (drums) and Jeff Young; while they aren’t vigorously playing away, they skillfully emphasizing specific key moments on the track, enhancing the overall sound without taking away attention from the whole. The vocals are kept light, like bedtime storytelling, as Rob sings, “closer to water, further from home.”
“Amassed Complication” is similar in nature to the previous track. Back-up singers, Dara and Scott Stein (accordion, keyboards) perfectly frame Rob’s voice. Following is a faster “Clock All Day.” Matt Epstein (bass), Scott Stein and Dan Barman really shine on it as the faster pace puts their skills front and center, while Jeff Young’s awesome violin adds an extra dose of oomph to the track.
Next up is “Lie Awake,” which could have easily been an Elliot Smith song. Everything about the track’s composition, vocal-work and pace indicate his influence. The soft guitars and super present violin add a bit of speed and vigor toward the end in contrast to the melodic, super smooth harmonies mainly featured so far. Similarly edgy “Blue Tomorrow” finds Rob abandoning his airy and whisper-like vocals as he takes on a more serious tone.
My favorite track, “The Astronaut Song” features a super-cool tempo and strong vocals. Matt, Dan and Scott get to really show off their musical skills and get creative. It establishes a nice balance to the overall record which is predominantly calmer than this track. “Shatter Today” is another Eliot Smith-inspired song, but despite the resemblance, there is something clearly their own about it. It’s a great track with a nice pace that’s consistent musically, well arranged and the content is fairly unique with lyrics like, “I’m alone with my murderer, never had been lonelier.”
Violins over a pleasant melody kick off “Cactus”, although the melody features occasional dissonance. “Traveling” is similar. The distant and reflective mood with its calm and relaxing music sound like a dream as Rob sings, “traveling, making new memories.” The final track, “Big Yellow” really polishes the album off on a strong note. The band chimes in less than 30 second in to the track, spicing up the acoustic beginning. The tempo is nice and upbeat as the mood is easy breezy, and perhaps stronger than many of the other tracks featured.
A False Sense of Warmth is a beautiful record featuring impressive melodies, insightful and soulful lyrics, incredibly talented musicians and a great musical integrity. There are many popular bands that suck but Food Will Win The War is not one of them. Everyone in the band is a professional musician dedicated to his or her art, and it clearly shows. Check them out in NYC on December 6th, andvisit their website for more info.http://foodwillwinthewar.com/
3.75 Out of 5
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