Have you ever listened to a critically acclaimed album only to walk away slightly unimpressed? It happens to me quite often. More often than not, though, I encounter the opposite: I fall head-over-heels in love with an album that isn’t that exactly well-received. It happened with John Mayer’s Born and Raised, it happened with The Ataris’ Welcome the Night, and now it’s happened with The Tower & The Fool’s How Long.
When this album made its way into the ears of the general public it received mixed reviews. For the most part critics found How Long to be subpar, complaining about lyrical laziness and repetitive song style. This was a band loaded with talent but this release wasn’t consistent in showcasing it.
I, on the other hand, found it to be incredible. I love the bluesy guitar, the indie sound with a tinge of country to it. I love the way Alex Correia and Chris Rosenquest’s voices work together and play off each other, especially in the album’s title track. I think it’s filled with lyrical gems (“My Heart is Dead in NYC” and “Scoliosis” for example) and in ten songs you journey with them across the American landscape as they tell you about the heartbreak they encountered there. It’s Jack Kerouac’s On the Road in musical form (the reference in “Broken” is only fitting).
To some extent it does feel like an obscure artsy album some hipster grad student would listen to. But the more I listen to it the more I appreciate it and hope to mimic its the poetic, philosophical musings.