Fuck a sophomore slump, folks. This new Accents full length is better than the last. Accents have gone from a duo to a quintet. The addition of members really expanded what they are capable of doing. Having three additional full members has added more depth and color to what the band is doing. It’s a remarkable growth in a short span of time. Tall Tales is really a stronger record for it.
While the three new members did appear on the previous full length in one capacity or another, it’s a whole different thing here. Mainly because they are expanding the overall feeling of the whole record, versus a few songs. The addition on Lauren Alexander is the most noticeable change to me. She and TJ Foster work well with each others voices, and having more of her is not a bad thing.
Beyond the new additions, there is a lot to like. The band still writes great hooks and big choruses. They have maintained their indie rock / indie folk sound that worked so well on the previous full length. This record has taken the things they did well, and just refined it. The production is spot on again. The record is sequenced almost perfectly this time. All the rises and falls hit right where they should. Each part of the record is strong, versus being front heavy.
There is a lot more diversity to the record as well. “Los Angeles” is the closest to a straight up folk song the band has made yet. “I Wasn’t Looking For You” is a driving, uptempo rock song. “Sore Eyes,” the closer, builds to a great conclusion for the record. There are great mellow, folk influenced songs. There are high energy indie rock songs. Most noticeably, there are great vocal harmonies throughout.
Long story short, Tall Tales is a document of how great a band can get in a relatively short span of time. This record is a keeper.
BandCamp / Buy It
There is something familiar about Accents. I don’t mean that in a shitty way. Actually quite the opposite. Growth And Squalor is a very inviting record in that sense. For a debut release to be that inviting is actually pretty rare. The general downside to that is, of course, it is hard to be super descriptive about something that doesn’t really make a huge impression. That is the catch 22 in this scenario.
Accents play a pretty solid indie rock/folk style. There instrumentation is great, especially considering they are a duo rather than a full band. They have a pretty solid, laid back kind of sound. However, let is not be said that there aren’t some rockers on here. The opening song, “Divide”, kicks the album off in a great fashion. It has some great vocal harmonies and a catchy guitar line. The following two songs “Way Out” and “The Fog” are great follow ups. The first three songs set a great tone. Unfortunately, those are three of the strongest songs. Of the remaining seven songs (or eight if you include the bonus track), there are only three that really stand out to be. “Alright With Me” and “Routine Movements” break it up a little bit. The album closer “Sorrow” starts off as a kind of middling track, but totally builds towards the end. It is a great way to end.
Now, that is not to say the remaining songs are bad. They aren’t bad at all, really. They just fall in the trap that often springs up with this type of music. There just isn’t enough diversity to really keep my attention. They are enjoyable songs, but get lost in the mix a little for me. I don’t know.
There is a lot to like here. As I said earlier, there is a familiarity with these song. If I had to make a comparison, I would say there is a little Kind Of Like Spitting, Sleeping At Last, Kevin Devine, and Death Cab For Cutie floating around in here. Certainly a bit of 90’s alternative in spots as well. While the record doesn’t reinvent any wheels, it never gets derivative either. All in all, it is a solid release for the indie rock set.
Buy It / Stream It (Deep Elm BandCamp)