There is certainly power here in the licks that Science!, a two man acoustic/folk/rock act outta Seattle, create in this sampler for their most recent album “Alcoves and Alleyways.” From the start at “Hold Onto Your Hats (Cause We’re Going Down)” one can feel the urgency that both band members present, with the words weaving well into the tangential interactions all instruments in the mix offer.
Themes of fairly typical folk-musician-ness are here: loneliness, homelessness, homesickness, etc. The lyrics build pretty well as letters to those who have the potential and patience to hear, and they echo well in the atmosphere created by the band’s great multi-instrumentation.
“Follow Me Down” is a travelin’ song. It’s made for the van, for the open-road perspective of mile-consciousness and the steering wheel’s point of view. Sadly, it lacks the type of intensity needed in songs that appreciate travel, especially when those songs are composed of soft-voiced white guys with acoustic guitars. While not a bad song, one does find the self wandering in directions other than the subject material while listening to this track.
An interesting and surprising twist for the sampler is the appropriately named “Breakthrough,” one that surprises with acoustic reverb and a clap track. Yes, you read right. A damn clap track. That one aspect of the song kinda seems to put off the quaint and human finitude of the words and buildup that could make a wonderful overall track, instead leading the song to a strange hinterland just on the outskirts of Rad Music.
“Julia” is just what you were waiting for this whole time: a solid blues-rock jam about a female, most likely romantically oriented, and the drive to just jet the hell outta this bar and never look back. Though the words are pretty solid and the singin is much more in the way of interesting this time, it just seems to be much too formulated a song to be as excellent as it could be. Sorry, “Julia,” but you just missed the mark this time.
The finishing tough on this short but free cache of songs is “Sight for the Blind,” a cut that is, again, SO DAMN CLOSE to perfect that it hurts to listen to it. Every layer of it is tight and killer: solid lyrics about people being neglected by authority and really fine guitar interludes that cut you up from the ears down are manifested here. But the whole echo effect on the chorus is so unnecessary! Why would you do that to the track?? This thing was so cool until the chorus. Seriously.
Overall Science!’s “Alcoves and Alleyways” sampler is more than worth picking up for free on Noisetrade. This is a worthwhile packet of tunes that showcase a band with some really great potential that just need to find their writing groove and the power that can fuel the whole music experience.
Highlights: “Sight for the Blind,” “Hold on to Your Hats (Cause We’re Going Down)”