If a band’s name is The Head and the Heart, beautiful and heartfelt music will inevitably emerge. This indie-rock band’s sophomore album, “Let’s Be Still,” shares songs about finding love, coping with loss and finding the moments to be still.
Listeners were first introduced to the Seattle band by its 2010 self-titled debut album, featuring soulful tracks like “Lost in My Mind” and “Down in the Valley.” Band members include vocalists and guitarists Josiah Johnson and Jonathon Russell, violinist Charity Rose Thielen, drummer Tyler Williams, bass player Chris Zasche and piano player Kenny Hensley.
The title track “Let’s Be Still” is about getting “lost in the music for hours” and being caught up in one’s own world without realizing that life goes on. It’s a reminder that it’s OK to take a deep breath from the chaos. Johnson and Thielen’s vocals on the carefree track blend together perfectly, making it smooth and effortless.
The album’s first single, “Shake,” captures the foot-tapping spirit of shaking the feelings of a relationship that didn’t last. The song emphasizes appreciating the experience for what it was and trying to get past the lingering feelings that remain. Lyrics include “And the memories we made/will never be lost, no/and the look on your face/we both knew the cost,” and the reminiscent mood gives the song the vibe of someone who can’t be shaken.
“Cruel” is a sincere look at walking away gracefully from a difficult relationship. The song begins with just the sound of a piano and drums and until Johnson’s voice comes in. All of the instruments get louder as the song progresses, leading to a dramatic buildup toward the end of the song, and the intensity in the singers’ voices makes listeners feel the heartbreak they’re experiencing.
Another remarkable track is “10,000 Weight in Gold,” about the light going out in a relationship. With the lyrics “I was burned out and lost/a dusty bulb, an abandoned lot/and the nighttime was the worst/it shows you all the things you’ve lost,” the listeners feel the despair in Johnson’s voice. The song also refers to the artists being on the road and the void they feel when thinking about their kids.
Thielen is the only woman in the band and her solo in “These Days are Numbered,” accompanied by guitar, is a beautiful sentiment about how short life can be and the importance of making the most of it.
Between Johnson’s raspy voice and the beautiful instrumentals, The Head and the Heart construct meaningful melodies and the simplicity of their music puts listeners at ease. Their songs aren’t overly produced or auto-tuned, but full of joy and sadness, success and failure.
Every track on the album is worth listening to. They’re the kind of songs that listeners can’t help but get lost in — the type of music that makes listeners think with their heads and feel their hearts.