Nathan and Rachel are giving all of their Noisetrade tips to World Vision. But listen, I’m not asking for you to give them a listen for charity alone. Their music is extremely high quality. The fact that they do it for such altruistic reasons is icing on the cake. They compare themselves to The Civil Wars and Penny and Sparrow, a few of our favorites around here, so I found myself a little skeptical at first. They deliver, in spades. These two sound great together from strings to vocal blending, their sound is… well, made for each other.
The first track “Don’t Fly Away” does a great job of passing the melody from instrument to instrument, with the violin taking on a solo role. The vocal harmonies throughout the track serve as a highlight less than a feature (unlike their other tracks). The song appears to be about fidelity in relationship, but might have a deeper spiritual meaning to it. It emphasizes loyalty, “please don’t go… don’t fly away.” The violin (or should it be fiddle in this sense?) riff is a bit reminiscent of classic (i.e. 19th century) old country music. It’s a nice accent on a good song.
“Love Each Other Right” is the adorable “single” from this album. If someone asked me to summarize From the Valley with one song, this would be the one I’d give them. First of all, Nathan’s vocals are really high quality. He has a legitimate solo lead vocal. Then Rachel’s harmonies are just so soothing that they serve to support the sound, not alter it. The lyrics are about the symbiotic relationship of a good romance that “starts over” after a rough patch. It instills deep and important values. It’s the kind of music that feels rich and life giving rather than empty ramblings about how tough love can be.
If “Don’t Fly Away” was a call for fidelity, “I won’t go” is the promise to stay. Again fronted by Nathan’s lead vocals, Rachel provides the accents to sweeten the track. The guitars seem particularly bright on this track. “Do not be afraid… I won’t go.” Although it could be about a romantic relationship, I’m more inclined to think this one is about the promise of Deuteronomy 31:6. The harmonies on this track are some of the best on the album with a clear southern gospel influence.
The final track “Would You Ever Be?” is another romantic track about true attraction. “I can’t bring myself to walk away” is the kind of hopelessly romantic sentiment that just works with this sound. I can totally hear this song being sung at weddings. Nathan’s vocals sound so effortless, but they are a deceptively complicated melody line. A little more pop than some of the other tracks on the album, it not only highlights the versatility of the duo, but it also gives another flavor of their sound.
It can be difficult to break into the music landscape with “another male-female duo,” which might be what some readers thought at the headline. But chemistry is a real thing and it’s quite evident with these two. They have an uncanny ability of highlighting each other’s vocal tones in ways that seem, well, supernatural. I’m excited to hear a full length album from them utilizing great vocals and more of that high accent fiddle. Fans of a particular soft version of contemporary folk music will really enjoy this album, but anyone who has ever fallen in love will be able to connect with the lyrics throughout the all-too-short EP.