The follow-up to Family Band’s debut maintains the same icy chill of its predecessor but also improves upon it.
2012, No Quarter
7.0 / 10.0
After listening to Family Band’s first album, Miller Path, I came to the conclusion that I enjoyed the group in theory more than their actual music. Just the thought of this female fronted core duo (married couple Kim Krans and Jonny Ollsin) making country/folk dream pop in a gothic fashion made me want to dive in headfirst. However, Miller Path was strangely more “meh” than I anticipated, possibly due to its one-note melodramatic sound. Miller Path’s nine songs felt like fourteen, and I haven’t returned to it since my initial listening in 2010. Grace & Lies, the follow-up to Family Band’s debut, maintains the same icy chill of its predecessor but also improves upon it.
Grace & Lies structurally follows the nine song track length of Miller Path, but while its seemingly short appearance proved to be daunting for Family Band’s debut, Grace & Lies feels less contrived, and its near eight minute closer, “Rest”, is one of the album’s best moments. Only the middle portion of Grace & Lies’ suffers from redundancy; though, the quiet acoustic strummer “Your Name” really is the only song bogging down Grace & Lies’ momentum. Otherwise, the rest of the album is livelier, even with Family Band’s dread-inspiring arrangements.
“Ride” adds fangs behind its country roots with subdued metal flourishes from Jonny Ollsin. Ollsin hints to his heavy metal past many times on Grace & Lies but never allows his grunting riffs to overpower the songs. That honor falls on Kim Krans’ haunting vocals that often sound void of hope. “This house is dark / Nothing moves inside”, she sings on “Night Song” while inducing goosebumps for its listeners. Though with a title like “Night Song”, I doubt anyone was expecting anything less dark or brooding.
While “Night Song” certainly has a horror movie vibe, not all of Grace & Lies strives to create tension. “Moonbeams” offers up a little light with its dreamy melodies that are strangely uplifting and draw comparisons to Mazzy Star. The song’s slow, steady percussion puts increased emphasis on Krans’ line, “I gotta hear your wandering sound”, as if she’s desperately seeking out another soul in an otherwise empty world. I doubt many listeners will wander off from Grace & Lies.
Purchase: Family Band – Grace & Lies