This Life Must Be Long

Roof Beams

Independent release, 2020

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


A trio from Washington D.C. who don't stay in one place too long, the multi-instrumentalists Nathan Robinson, Bill Smyth and Phillips Saylor Wisor, i.e. Roof Beams, touch on folk, rock, pop and even country sounds on this socially distanced record where they all recorded their respective portions in their homes.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The title track starts the listen with complicated acoustic guitar and raw vocals as folk and Americana meet at a very heartfelt place that even welcomes harmonica. “Outer Rings” follows and moves at a calmer pace, though still with plenty of emotion as warm mandolin and playful percussion complement the organic climate.

There's just eight tracks here, and every one is great. The middle tracks offer the more forceful strumming of “Buckle,” while “Carry On” builds into a busier track that even invites buzzing synth, effectively giving the listen some pop influence. “Awareness,” a truly exceptional song, then delivers genuine and poetic indie-folk that will bring to mind the best work of Bright Eyes or even Blind Pilot.

Landing near the end, “Clean Break” alternates between calmer moments of beauty and fuller bouts of atmospheric folk-rock, and “Witness Me” follows with both harmonica and pedal steel adding much to the campfire-esque mood of the album highlight. “My Business” exits the listen on the longest song, where folk, rock, pop and even prog-rock ideas collide with much thoughtfulness and careful attention to musicianship.

Rating: B

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



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