In the end, it was a suggestion by fellow musician and friend Angie Heaton that stuck. She liked the way meteorologists described weather patterns, particularly directional names. Being from the West (Salem, Oregon) the group decision was to go with "Easterly." The band is comprised of Hall (vocals, guitar), Andy Douthit (guitar), Kerry Kincanon (bass, vocals), Dan Miles (drums, vocals), Rich Swanger (guitar, vocals), and Stan Keightley (keyboards, vocals). Once upon a time, Noah Hall attended Yale Divinity, where he considered becoming an Episcopal man of the cloth. His experiences there -- his battles with epistemology -- still surface in many of these lyrics.
In "The River," a pretty melody couches a call for baptismal soul-saving for his sins, but in the end there's no satisfaction: "I still don't know for sure if all this loss was worth the lesson / How come I still don't feel pure?" Easterly is an auspicious beginning for Noah Hall and his cohorts. Hall manages to counter his sometimes sullen and oft bitter lyrical forays with lush, strikingly beautiful melodies and vocals. There's intelligence behind the songwriting, and a soft emotional honesty that draws you in and keeps you there, track to track. These aren't just fictions - you believe he's fought the battles - and the pretty arrangements and production find the right balance to present these songs in sensitive, endearing ways. Fans of The Pernice Brothers will find a kindred spirit here, but if you like the idea of contrasting soothing music with harsher lyrics, then Easterly's for you.
The quality will have you questioning the fact that it's a debut, but ultimately will leave you begging to hear more soon. As the Easterly front approaches, the forecast is very good. GARY GLAUBER www.fufkin.com Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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