The White Ravens

Gargoyles and Weather Vanes

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Although Ann Arbor-based brother and sister indie rock team Amy (vocals, bass, lyrics) and Will (keys, guitars, music) Bennett are still teenagers, they've already been playing together as the White Ravens for more than five years. Despite their tender ages (Amy is 18; Will is just 17), they write remarkably sophisticated tunes with inventive arrangements that span the entire history of modern pop. They produced this outing themselves with the help of engineer Jim Diamond, the man behind the boards on the first two White Stripes albums. The Ravens are a bit more polished than the Stripes, with a pop ethic that gives their music a playful feel, balanced by dark lyrics that are as erudite as all get out. "Tick Tock," a bouncy boogie-woogie tune, references Peter Pan, the Sphinx, and various nautical themes. Its melodic shifts of time and tempo bring the Beatles "A Day in the Life" to mind, but the song stands on its own with its clever wordplay and Amy's knowing vocal describing a problematic love affair. Album-opener "Sparks" is the brightest tune here, a rocker with a stomping beat supplied by Billy Joel's drummer Liberty DeVitto, a memorable vocal hook, and a sparkling lyric with just a hint of mortality. Piano and spooky organ fills complement "Broken Halves," a lighthearted look at a love/hate relationship with Amy delivering an arch vocal. Diamond provides some metallic guitar on "Detritus," a song sung by ghosts upset by the developers who are digging up their graves to provide housing for the living, and "Eulogy" ends the album on a melancholy note as Amy sings of faded love and disillusionment while Will plays a piano mixed down to sound like it's coming from a fever dream.

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