This Frontier Needs Heroes – This Frontier Needs Heroes
Heroic Endeavours 2009
[tags: alt country, folk, southern gothic, 2009]
Listen while reading:
I never heard of This Frontier Needs Heroes back in 2009 even though the brother-sister duo had notable success with their self-titled debut record. Brad and Jessica Lauretti from Brooklyn/New York played over 150 gigs throughout the US and even in Great Britain, they toured with The Handsome Family and with South China (two bands I really love) and their music sounds just like the next release you want to buy if you are into folk and alt country with a hint of southern gothic added.
As I first listened to the album I had a funny feeling which reminded me of Blanche, also an alt country, southern gothic band. But I can’t see why I was reminded of them because they sound way different. Maybe it’s because they also feature male and female vocals in their tracks – or maybe it is just the fact that This Frontier Needs Heroes had toured with The Handsome Family and Blanche is also a southern gothic band – who knows. What’s sure is that The Frontier Needs Heroes don’t sound like the first nor the latter. The Handsome Family is to synthesizer driven to be a good comparison and Blanche’s sound contains too much country stomping (what’s not true, but they are different). Enough with those comparisons, I’ll do a feature on Blanche sometime soon and then you can hear for yourself. (p.s. I think what makes the difference is the missing folk compound in The Handsome Family’s and Blanche’s music.)
Back to the actual album. Acoustic guitar play and the voice of Brad are two always present elements that are the foundation for some nice and interesting arrangements. Long, Gone for example with the spares percussions and the cool basslines attracts attention through the use of a flute that plays some kind of melody you hadn’t expected. Another example of an outstanding track is You Humble Me that refers to classical country ballads in sound, lyrics and chorus. This alone wouldn’t make it special, but if you realize the context that surrounds it, you can see that the band was anxious to produce a diverting album full of little gems. And this context is characterized by dark and deep tracks like Bend The Bow or the absolute fascinating Pardon Me sung by Brad and Jessica in two voices accompanied by slow and creeping instrumentation. But don’t get this wrong, it’s true, the overall atmosphere of the album is quite dark, notwithstanding the single tracks aren’t just melancholic or depressed. Hard to describe it, especially when there are tracks like No More War which are more rock with electronic guitar solos and stuff than alt country or folk. But songs like this are the exception and so there are no real stylistic breaks disturbing the listening pleasure.
As I wrote this, another idea came to my mind and as I checked it out, I saw that I was on the right track for I thought of Blackbird Harmony sounding a bit like This Frontier Needs Heroes. But this is just meant as a side note. In the end I simply suggest, that you will love This Frontier Needs Heroes if you like one, two or all of the above mentioned bands. And if you don’t know them, this album is a very good start to get into some alt country and southern gothic stuff. Although the album is not from 2010, I highly recommend giving a listen for I think you will hear quite a lot from Jessica and Brad in the future because their music is nothing you find every day. To buy a physical copy of the album, visit their personal homepage and to get the Mp3s you can head over to iTunes or amazon.com. MySpace them too and say hello or ask them out or whatever.