Album Review: Lohio – Family Tree EP

Talk about uplifting. Some music just makes you want to get up and go, breathe a new air of life and hop, skip and jump through a plush meadow of rainbows and kittens while wearing a clown suit and a tie-dye bandana. In recent history those bands have included the likes of The Polyphonic Spree and We’re All From Barcelona, groups of cult-like collectives that are as big as the hikes of emotion their songs often convey.

Lohio, the new kids on the block, can elevate your mood and make you want to prance around like you just don’t care, but their breadth of musical know-how doesn’t stop there. The anthemic do-something-worth-doing album opener “Leave The City, Leave The Room,” and the joyful sing-a-longs in “Family Tree,” both build on their good-time-all-the-time predecessors’ groundwork and they get their job done before the foursome switch gears and get a little serious.

Perhaps the best track on the album is what comes next, the shoegaze post-rock “Wind and Leaves,” which builds a thick wall of fuzz, behind trepid vocals and a soaring organ that cuts through the shrub with a dark intensity that’s as intriguing as it is surprising following the infinitely cheery album openers.

Unlike “Wind and Leaves,” which builds into its climactic ride to the finish, “Adelaide” pushes foreward from the get-go, riding the back of a pulsing beat that explodes with fiery snare rolls giving added punch to the more laid back sound surrounding it. During a beatless interlude, complimentary effects contrast and converge and the beat finally reappears carrying the track till its abrupt end.

Completing the transformative fall from grace, the album encore, “Funeral Song” does, as expected, have an overall grey sound, but an underlying glimmer of hope shines through the dark overcast, the last ray of hope remaining from the suffocating joy experienced just 20 minutes earlier. In the end you’re left in the most unexpected place possible, but the fact that they could take you there without blinking an eye has gotta keep you riding that high.

For more information on Lohio check out their official website, MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter pages. Get Family Tree now on iTunes.

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