Wolf Ram Heart

Betrayal of Hearts

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AllMusic Review by

All the pieces of the Wolf Ram Heart puzzle begin to come together when you read up on group mastermind David James' background and discover that he was a sickly, often bedridden youth fascinated by the psych-pop side of the Monkees. Listening to the band's debut album, Betrayal of Hearts, it's easy to imagine the songs as the maturation of the musical fantasies that probably played out in the young James' head as he soaked up those shimmering ‘60s sounds and pondered creating his own kaleidoscopic, psychedelic soundscapes. That's not to say that Betrayal of Hearts is a retro-psych outing -- while the influence of the paisley-and-incense era can be discerned throughout the record, it's consistently channeled into a distinctly modern-sounding style that has as much in common with the 21st century indie rock scene as it does with the 1967 hit parade. Besides, the translucent keyboard textures that color many of the tunes (courtesy of both multi-instrumentalist James and his wife, Jessica Barnes) seem to owe as much to late-‘80s/early-‘90s dream pop as anything else. In any case, the most salient elements of the Wolf Ram Heart sound are James' gentle vocals floating atop already lighter-than-air arrangements in the delivery of his dreamy tunes. While the dynamics shift from majestic and orchestral-sounding to spare and fragile, the overall feeling on Betrayal of Hearts is one of a hazy, twilit dream making the journey from the mind's eye of the dreamer to the light of day.

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