Though the title of the first album from The Places (The Autopilot Knows You Best) may reference the notion of automatic travel, the gentle, sometimes offbeat but always agreeable music of The Places is anything but ordinary, and takes you anywhere but where you expect.
Each song rolls with a narrative that is both facile and expertly complex, the way a backflip looks easy and elegant when executed by a seasoned gymnast. And their technique, though always true in its allegiance to melody, wanders energetically through diverse and rich sonic territory. A track like “Lazy Days and Castaways”, a languid, liquid tapestry of accordion, guitar, and voice over a heartbeat of percussion, is folkloric, natural like a stream. Its followed up by songs like “The Projectionist”, and “Mission Impossible”, which showcase The Places penchant for the slightly bizarre, mixing typical techniques of pop with eerie, out of place sounds and breathy, running out of time vocals, that add texture, depth, curiosity. Amy Annelles singing is tender and adaptive, easily transitioning between delicate serenades and bold crooning laden with charisma. It is in this that they balance innovation and tradition, reinventing folk music and rock in a glorious litanies that are elegant, sometimes accidental, poignant and pensive.
Though the album’s animated experimentation retires a bit by “No Mystery”, (songs more closely mimic the stylings of typical guitar driven girl-rock ballad) the traveling you’ve done will stir you, leave you changed, and prepare you for another journey. Take heart in The Places, for they have delivered their hearts to you.
// Notes from the Road
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