In St. John’s, Newfoundland, the typical garage rock four-piece sound has been burned to the ground and resurrected as Hey Rosetta, a band unafraid to experiment with the additions of symphonic elements to their music while avoiding the usual trappings of pretension such experimentation frequently entails.
With their third album, Seeds – due out on Sonic Records on February 15th in North America – the band tightens its sound, creating one of the most invigorating rock listens so far in 2011. Building on the already solid reputation they’d developed from 2006’s Plan Your Escape through 2008’s Into Your Lungs, lead-singer Tim Baker and company layer hook after hook into songs bursting at the seams with energy.
Like Arcade Fire on Neon Bible and Sufjan Stevens with Illinois, Hey Rosetta builds their melodies with garage rock ferocity which is consistently punctuated with stunning bursts of fiery orchestral bliss.
Seeds‘ title track features a frenetic drum solo late in the proceedings that brings the song to a rousing completion, ushering in a chorus of layered vocals, strings, bass and guitar. “Yer Spring” then ups the ante, building to a crescendo of horns at its midpoint, letting any casual listeners know this clearly isn’t the rock album they’ve been raised on.
No, clearly it’s a better rock album, and the band proves to be adept at controlling the pace of the album, building the track-listening smartly to encourage listeners to listen to the album straight through. They trust that each successive listen will reveal the peeling of layers from an album which rewards attentive listeners.
Fans of the above mentioned bands won’t be disappointed with this adventurous release, but the album’s also got appeal for fans of Coldplay, who will love the piano opening and solid vocal focus of “Yer Fall,” or the acoustic guitar and haunting background vocals of “Bandages,” the album’s closing salvo which seems to be a prime candidate for Grey’s Anatomy exposure.
Hey Rosetta’s Seeds will, at the very least, plant seeds of interest in the mind of anyone who dares to give the album a full listen. Thematically, musically and lyrically solid, the album rewards patience and adventurous musical sense, while also rewarding listeners with some of the band’s catchiest hooks yet.
This Canadian band deserves wider exposure than they’ve received in the past, and of all the albums they’ve released thus far, this may be the one best poised to send them into the mainstream.