[27 April 2010]
Somehow the heart and soul of the South pour out of Los Angeles’s Whispering Pines on their debut release. Named after the song by the Band, Whispering Pines incorporate the sounds of the aforementioned with the Allman Brothers. This isn’t some mere Southern rock bar band, though. These guys vary their dynamics and give their songs a great amount of dimension. The bassline (Brian Filosa) is given dual billing with the rest of the instruments; that is, the bass’s levels are equivalent to the lead instruments instead of shoving it in the background. The jamming sections are very intellectual and actually lead to somewhere, rather than hovering around a particular jam segment for a long time. Recorded in the late Elliott Smith’s studio using a 1970s Trident A Range console (only 13 are in existence), the album was recorded completely analog. The album is set up for vinyl release, so songs are divided into “side a” and “side b”. Check out the title track for an impeccable conjuring of Levon Helm’s songwriting and vocals. These guys have the ability to do what they want: “Add to their collective body of music with reverence and vision”. Well done, sirs.