Remnose “Waiting On The Wind” (Independent, 2019)

Waiting On The Wind’ is the new album from Remnose, an indie-folk/rock band based in Detroit. The band are made up of brothers Morton (Marlon on lead vocal and rhythm guitar and Carson on drums) plus Alex Wildner on bass guitar Sam Sparling on piano and lap steel. Collectively their sound can be broadly characterised as the indie/folk. Theirs is a dreamy delivery of what, on first listen, seem to be quite simple arrangements. What you hear is the band and their instruments without a lot of unnecessary fuss which is rather clever because actually there is much more going on here than it seems. Marlon has an easy and yet emotive voice effortlessly carrying tunes that lilt like a gentle breeze or an early morning iridescent sun glimpsed through the trees.

These are not songs to be accessed head–on; they favour a more oblique approach. At first listen the album feels a little one-paced, even (oh horror) samey. But there is a depth here that benefits persistence and exploration. The straight-forwardness of the arrangements may contribute to an initial feeling that a preference for sparsity has triumphed over ambition for diversity, however, dig deeper and another level reveals itself. There are more sounds patch-working through these tunes than is at first apparent. The lap steel playing of Sparling ices most of these offerings and it is this, of course, that ushers the indie/folk pleasingly into a more familiar Americana guise. That said, the band’s own list of influences – Deer Tick, The Growlers, and Kurt Vile – emphasise more indie/folk/lo-fi leanings.

The band, on their own Facebook page, describe their genre as “sand swallowing grumble tunes” which isn’t over helpful! Rather, imagine music that chooses to inhabit the spaces between more obvious manifestations of Americana, indie and sixties-sophisticated-garage-band characteristics. The stand out track ‘Cures, Diseases’ is reminiscent of the arpeggio driven bounce of The Treetop Flyers (anyone who has seen Israel Nash on tour recently will have caught them on at least two of his tours). Think that – and why they tour with such a strong Americana act- and you won’t be too far from Remnose. It is probably the seventh or eighth listen before it is apparent how simple and yet interesting the guitar introduction to ‘Wishing Well’ is, followed by more lap steel and then a run down the piano keyboard which appears out of nowhere and reoccurs, a whispered reminder to pay attention when listening. Maybe ‘Cures and Diseases’ has a revival for standout track. Play the album again and chose a new favourite, it’s that kind of record.

Lyrically, there is a synchronicity with the musical approach; the apparently simplicity of the tunes are matched by the words. Take the title track ‘Waiting on the Wind’; it’s about pushing on in a sail boat isn’t it? And yet, clearly it isn’t, it also a metaphor for a relationship. Like the music there is more to Remnose songs than first meet the eye, ear and expectations. This album really benefits from a little faith; open yourself to it and let it warm you.

Deceptively simple Americana Folk Rock that gets better and better with every listen.
8/10

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