As any sports fan knows, the sophomore slump is real thing. A fantastic debut season followed by a disappointing second trying to live up the hype. But if you’re not a sports fan and you follow our site, you may not believe that it exists. You need look no further than Dawes, Fleet Foxes, Bon Iver, John Fullbright, Shovels and Rope, The Barr Brothers, Mumford and Sons, The Head and The Heart, and the list goes on and on. These artists have defied the trap and released second albums that were every bit as good, perhaps better, as their debuts. Time to add The Lone Bellow to that list. With the release of Then Came The Morning, my most anticipated release of 2015, this folk rock band has already released an album that will be hard to top this year.
From the first few bars of this album, it’s clear that harmonies and soaring instrumentation are going to again be the highlight. The title track is a string and piano laced rock song, one that immediately sets the tone for what this album will be and introduces new listeners to what this band is all about. What’s incredible about Then Came The Morning is that its unrelenting. As soon as you get comfortable with a sound you get to feel a song, the next one comes on and shows that this band is capable of so much.
“Fake Roses,” certainly not the happiest song on the album, is a much more laid back folk rock tune, though no less folky and no less rock. When the bridge hits and the harmonies kick in, lead singer (which is slightly misleading as all three primary members lead different songs) Zach Williams really does bellow and it’s incredible. This man has one of the most powerful and emotional voices in music today. “Marietta” is another track that shows off his voice, one that makes you feel as much as hear.
The album shows you the more rock side of the band beginning with “Take My Love,” a folk rock song that but these guys more in the anthemic sounding side of folk. It’s a beautifully written love song with an outstanding percussion arrangement. “Heaven Don’t Call Me Home” shows a more bluesy rock sound and “If You Don’t Love Me,” one of the album’s best, doesn’t hold anything back. It’s electric guitar riff accents the harmonies perfectly and emotion in the lines “If you don’t love me,/ If you don’t love me,/ Leave me or let me go” is impossible not to feel.
The Lone Bellow, with the release Then Came The Morning, have cemented their status as the top folk rock act going right now. Having seen them live twice, I can assure you their live shows are vastly better than their albums, which are already outstanding in their own right. Expect to see and hear a lot more from them and please go buy this album. I’ve never recommended anything more.