Promising second album from Chapel Hill trio
Birds and Arrows are a Chapel Hill-based trio playing alternately folky and rock-ish tunes on a variety of acoustic and electric instruments. Formed around the voices of Andrea and Pete Connelly, the band stand out—a bit—from the competition thanks to Andrea Connolly’s wavering but tenacious voice, along with a degree of instrumental restlessness that doesn’t allow the band to fall into many ruts. Opener “Time Alone” might be the album’s strongest track, with Andrea’s vocals playing against shifts in dynamics and tempo that are effective rather than jarring. Pete Connelly’s voice is, for the most part, less memorable than his wife’s; when he steps to the fore, as in “Arrows in the Air,” he sounds mightily earnest but the songs are more forgettable. “Pride of Lions” veers dangerously close to soft rock, which is never a good thing, but the band pulls it together with the super-mellow, Andrea-led “Summer’s Gone” and the gently epic swells of “April 12th.” It remains to be see whether the trio can separate themselves from the glut of sensitive, low-key bands out there, but We’re Gonna Run provides some grounds for optimism.