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Hearts

Rate It! Avg: 4.0 (29 ratings)
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Hearts album cover
01
Let's Get High
4:37
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02
We Were All Uptown Rulers
4:33
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03
Birmingham To Blackhorse Road We Wandered
3:40
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04
The Oyster Is A Wealthy Beast
3:12
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05
Capaldi
5:59
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06
A Milk White Flag
2:03
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07
Berliners
4:34
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08
Smoke Signals
2:54
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09
Your Mother Was The Lightning
3:26
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10
High Life
4:57
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11
Gatesnakes
1:56
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12
The Ballad Of Horselover Fat
5:10
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Album Information

Total Tracks: 12   Total Length: 47:01

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A new favorite

Bathos

I've been listening to The Court & Spark since their first album and have been pretty excitedly looking forward to this release (and the dub version of Witch Season which hasn't come out). Witch Season was such a fantastic album that it's hard to follow, but Hearts is at least its equal. There's no Out On the Water on here, but it doesn't matter -- never before have they put out something so consistently good beginning to end. It's especially true in the instrumentals, which now feel complete and important to the album, not just pleasant asides. There's another review that mentions jam bands -- I'm sure he means well, but I would probably run away and never look back if I read that, so take it with a grain of salt -- there's nothing jammy about anything on here. It's a collection of some of their best songs yet, with arrangements that, although sparer sometimes than on Witch Season, are just as deft and have this fantastic soft, subtle touch that comes out when you pay good attention.

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space cowboys

ChicagoKid

If Wilco take alt-country experimentalism in one direction, favoring distortion and angularity, then the Court and Spark take it in another. Lush atmospherics created by a variety of stringed instruments and electronics (including what sound like processed bird calls) are weaved through simple acoustic melodies that rarely stray past mid tempo, with a singer who croons so intimately you think he's sitting in the chair next to you. There’s something of a jam band feel to these tracks (think Phish, NOT Dave Matthews). The narcotic warmth of these songs put me in mind of summertime dusk on the prairie, lying flat on my back as the stars appear, each one lovely and amazing.

They Say All Music Guide

By the time indie Americana group the Court & Spark were making their fourth full-length album, Hearts, they were already pretty certain about their sound — a calming, introspective mix of lap steel, acoustic guitars, poetic lyrics, and the occasional background sound effect — which had been perfected in their 2004 releases, Witch Season and Dead Diamond River. So, understandably, they didn’t change much for their next record. If anything is different, it’s that Hearts is sadder than anything else the band has produced, with lyrics that speak — often abstractly — of loss, regret, and loneliness. Even the love songs, like “Birmingham to Blackhorse Road We Wandered,” have a melancholy to them (“On my way through the gardens/I cried foul at my love gone forever”), and “High Life,” which has M.C. Taylor singing “It’s the high life for me/It’s good to be free/It’s the high life for me,” is so slow and sad that it’s obvious that at best, he’s accepting mistakes he’s made in the past and is trying to move on, but there’s really no celebration or happiness. And while musically Hearts stays pretty close to what the Court & Spark have always done (an exception would be the vacuous opening song, “Let’s Get High,” which sounds like a single off the follow-up album of a nameless mid-’90s adult contemporary band that had once found moderate success), the four instrumentals on the album are where the band actually gets to show off. They experiment with different genres, incorporating indie rock, jazz, classical, and electronica influences while still maintaining their own style, and it sounds nice and doesn’t disrupt the overall tone of the album. Though it’s nice to have that consistency, it wouldn’t be bad to see how the band could set these pieces to words and challenge Taylor’s voice, which stays a little too frequently in a comfortable four- or five-note range. Listeners know he can do more (there are hints of it in “Capaldi”) and that the band can do more (as heard in Witch Season) — so even though Hearts is a nice album, a comfortable album, its safety is a little disappointing. – Marisa Brown

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