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His Name Is Alive

Firefly Dragonfly

(Acuarela; US: 9 Oct 2007; UK: 3 Dec 2007)

After leaving 4AD in 2002, it was another four years before we heard from the normally prolific His Name Is Alive. In 2006, they broke the silence, and in 2007, released no fewer than three records. Whereas Detrola and Xmmer typified His Name Is Alive’s ability to blend styles as disparate as jazz, soul, ballads, rock, and electronica, Firefly Dragonfly floats squarely in the realm of the hushed and ethereal. Starting off with “I Can See a Lot of Light in You”, a renamed cover of Sufjan Stevens’s “The Dress Looks Nice On You” marked by a delicate acoustic melody, a simple strum pattern, and airy vocals. “Come Out of the Wilderness” and “There’s Something Between Us and He’s Changing My Words” (a revisit to a song from 1991) follow the same unassuming template, only to slightly different tempo. The disc’s closer, however, a fourteen-minute harp/piano tribute to Alice Coltrane, often recalls a set of windchimes drifting in the breeze. It’s an appropriate end, as Firefly Dragonfly—recorded in the low-stress surroundings of the band’s living room—may be one of the least assertive recordings in His Name Is Alive’s catalog.


Andrew Gilstrap is a freelance writer living in South Carolina, where he's able to endure the few weeks each year that it's actually freezing (swearing a vow that if he ever moves, it'll be even farther south). Aging into a fine curmudgeon whose idea of heaven is 40 tree-covered acres away from the world, he increasingly wishes he were part of a pair of twins, just so he could try being the kinda evil one on for size. Musically, he's always scouring records for that one moment that makes him feel like he's never heard music before, but he long ago realized he needs to keep his copies of John Prine, Crowded House, the Replacements, Kate Bush, and Tom Waits within easy reach.

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29 Sep 2010
There is no story; or if there is a story, it isn’t well written. The album plays like a collection of out-takes, some of them quite beautiful but nonetheless without cohesion.
5 Nov 2007
The first of two albums from His Name Is Alive this year is, as usual, very strong, but there is nothing here that makes one yearn for this album over Detrola.
2 Feb 2006
If you’re expecting another album similar to Last Night, you are in for a rude awakening. His Name Is Alive offer more electro-pop than anything else here.
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