The Heavy Blinkers

The Night and I Are Still So Young

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The Night and I Are Still So Young Review

by Tim Sendra

The Heavy Blinkers' fourth album is their lushest, most luscious record yet. The group has always been a sonic treat, but here the album is positively bathed in epic luxury. In fact, The Night and I Are Still So Young achieves twice what the Polyphonic Spree does with half as many members and 1/100th the hype. Much like on that band's record, each song here floats on waves of sweeping strings, blaring horns, massed harmony vocals, and bathtubs full of reverb, but unlike them there is a sweetness about the Heavy Blinkers, an easy grace which results in a perhaps less shocking and exuberant listening experience but also a richer one. Enough of the comparisons though: The Night and I Are Still So Young is a wonderful modern pop record that stands up to repeated listens, and given the right exposure could vault the group to the top of the chamber/intelligent pop heap. In the likely case that doesn't happen, at least be one of the few who fall under the spell of the autumnal charms of the record. Let the weepers like the heartbroken "Fall on My Sword" or the ocean-deep "Filtered Light" move you. Tap your foot along with the happy tunes like the peppy "In the Morning" or the Northern California soul of "Try Telling That to My Baby." Take in the swooning melodies, the heartfelt lyrics, the inventive arrangements, the pure wonder and soul of it, and rejoice that a band is carrying on the traditions of Brian Wilson and Burt Bacharach without merely aping them. Above all listen to the vocals. Whether double-tracked, quadruple-tracked, or however they were recorded, they manage to make a handful of people sound like a choir. You are not liable to hear another record with vocals this beautiful anytime soon. All the lead vocals are wonderful, but Ruth Minnikin's are one of the strongest assets of the band. She is adept at providing beds of harmony vocals but also some very affecting leads like on "Gentle Strength" and the Grand Old Opry floating in space epic "Don't Get Me Wrong." The band's previous records hinted at the laid-back grandeur on display here; The Night and I Are Still So Young delivers on those promises.

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