Artist Spotlight

Review: 5j Barrow, “From the Dim, Sweet Light”

No Comments 6 July 2014

Review: 5j Barrow, “From the Dim, Sweet Light”

“5j Barrow celebrates the dramatic, dynamic and collaborative nature of storytelling with the release of From the Dim, Sweet Light. From top to bottom, the players provide a wide and diverse range of skills and instrumentation that not only makes this album appealing to musicians, but accessible to fans.”

Artist: 5j Barrow

Album: From the Dim, Sweet Light

Genre: Urban Folk

RIYL: Of Monsters and Men, The Civil Wars, The Head and the Heart

5j Barrow - From the Dim Sweet Light

Brooklyn-based sextet 5j Barrow hits the ground running with “Talking My Soul,” the first track on the just-released From the Dim, Sweet Light. It’s clear from the outset that lead vocalists Eryn Murman and Jason Hite have a synergistic musical relationship that is only heightened by the collaboration with Eric Namaky (keys), Michael Hunter (violin), Ian Hunt (percussion) and Harden Frank (bass).

“Talking My Soul” sets an ambitious benchmark for the remainder of the album, and remains a smart choice to introduce the band to listeners by utilizing the special talents of every band member in the process. It’s an interesting blend, especially with these vocalists who draw on different styles and strengths; Murman with a rich, even tone that drips like honey and Hite, whose voice is rife with character.

“Lynnette” is a wonderfully charming and interesting song that seems to tap into Murman and Hite’s Broadway experience, exploring dynamics and rhythm in a way that feels fresh without being overwrought with drama. “This Too” also weaves us more of Hite’s vocal work into the mix and provides depth with its harmonies. The emotion conveyed both vocally and within the strains of the violin strings push this to yet another level. The simplest touches of overlaying a frantic vocal track on top of tight instrumental work near the end launch into a musical climax that truly satisfies. In contrast, “Big Rooms, Bright Lights” is a showcase of the partnership that Murman and Hite have brought into this six-piece band; they are in sync at every moment of this simple, pleasing tune that eschews the larger production to focus on stripping down their sound to show off their skills.

Second single “Wildwood” is the real showstopper here, however. If at any point you’re sitting on the fence with 5j Barrow, this track will win you over. There’s an irrepressible energy that jumps right out of the speakers; Murman’s infectious vocals and, in particular, Hunter’s violin work and the driving drums from Hunt cap a winning performance from every single band member. The song reaches a fever pitch before circling back to the simple, catchy melody that sets the tone at the beginning.

5j Barrow celebrates the dramatic, dynamic and collaborative nature of storytelling with the release of From the Dim, Sweet Light. From top to bottom, the players provide a wide and diverse range of skills and instrumentation that not only makes this album appealing to musicians, but accessible to fans. It’s a rollicking, energetic glimpse into a collective of performers that click when they play together, enhancing each others’ strengths in a way that’s exciting to listen to. There can be little doubt they would put on a hell of a live show, and I’d be surprised if this band didn’t pick up even more buzz with the release of this album. Take a listen, you’ll be glad you did.


5j Barrow website: http://5jbarrow.com/

 

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