Review: Husbands and Wives “Prepare To Meet Thy God”
If you have a special place in your heart for multi-instrumentalist bands, you should give Husbands & Wives a listen. A few weeks ago, the four-piece dropped Nasty Fancy a line asking us to check them out. We did. And as a result, we bring you their debut album review.
“Prepare To Meet Thy God”, the debut album from the Canton-based indie/pop four-piece packs a punch. And let’s just get this out of the way while before we move any further: the album was recorded, mixed and produced entirely by the band. Once I gave the album a listen, I appreciated that statement even more.
The album opens with a rather dreary organ intro, played by keys player, Kris Oprisch, and immediately opens up into an upbeat piano number. This first track, “Haven’t You Heard”, also features Becca Monteleone on back-up vocals, and I have to say it was a nice touch.
“Evil Things”, the second track on the album, is mostly guitar and drum driven and reminded me of an early Saves the Day. And although the song opens with the lyrics “I don’t want to hurt you, That is just the kind of thing I do”, Marc Dottavio, who writes the songs, performs the vocals and plays bass, along with the rest of the crew, manages to keep the pace rather upbeat.
“Lovely”, which is one of my favorites on the album, was crafted and well thought out. The introduction has Dottavio on vocals and bass, quietly, and then bam! some heavy guitar jams break through the calmness. Then it slows down again, all the while sprinkling some wonderful harmonies in there. I would imagine this track translates beautifully into a live performance.
“Cars and Hotel Rooms” is a classic indie-pop song from lyrics to song title to the cheeriness and upbeat piano. There is one slight difference though: the unexpected trumpet parts played by Jacob Wynne. It works, and just adds a little flavor to that text-book pop ballad feel.
Brian McCoy, the band’s drummer, creates some Mars Volta-esque interludes with his hurdy gurdy. There’s a pretty trippy intro on “Paul Newman”, but the boys manage to maintain that same sound once the song gets going. There are some more great harmonies going on here. I really enjoy the ending to the song. Dottavio exudes his vocal ability by repeating “Til it’s all you” to close the song.
The guitar parts on “Already Gone”, which are played by Tony Scarpitti, really drove this song home. It’s one of the album’s calmer songs, then about halfway through things get trippy again. A scary interlude leads to a beautiful outro that reminded me of the band Real Estate.
Up next is the title track of the album. The violin intro played by Steve Dallas set the tone for the song, which seems to have a certain message: heartbreak. Actually, a lot of these songs seem to have that underlying theme. This track in particular has one of the best closing thoughts I’ve heard in a while: “You knew-What I wanted to do-With you-Til’ he comes for me too”.
“Mars” is accompanied with more of that trumpet, and boy do they make it work. Lots of harmonies and lots more guitar riffs. I think this song would have been an appropriate slow down part, but I still find myself singing “ba ba, ba ba” in my head. So, obviously they’re doing something right.
The album closes with “Lose One”, my second favorite song on the album. The calm pitter patter of the drums and the low-key guitar mixed with some vocal harmonies makes for a perfect song for a summer drive. There are also some instrumental interludes thrown in there with the trumpet, and then the mandolin (played by Oprisch) abruptly, but beautifully wraps up the song.
“Prepare To Meet Thy God” has a vintage feel, and these guys did an absolutely wonderful job recording, mixing and producing this debut album. With all that’s going on here, instrumentally and vocally, I think the next plan of action would be to really work on polishing. I can’t wait to see what these talented musicians do in the future, and I bet they put on a hell of a live show. Check out BuzzBin’s review of their CD release show at the Auricle in Canton July 14. You can stream their album and stay up to date with all their upcoming shows at www.husbandsandwives.net.