On Friday, September 27th, VARLET released its debut full-length American Hymns, the follow up to their EP The Drifter. Although the songs for American Hymns had been recorded since February of 2013—when Varlet holed up at Hideaway Studios (My Morning Jacket, The Swayback) in Sedalia, Colorado for 10 days with friend and engineer James Barone (of Tennis, Tjutjuna)—the album's completion and release are now possible due to Varlet's incredible fans, friends, and family who helped fund a successful campaign for American Hymns via Kickstarter.
American Hymns delves deeply into territory that Varlet explores well: seamlessly marrying dark, gritty lyrical themes with bright—and on this new album, even poppy—instrumentation. With American Hymns, Lilly Scott's classic vocals have matured into a stronger, consistently nostalgic jazz falsetto, while Varlet's music is more complex, varied, and interesting. A handful of songs on the new album have Lilly sharing lead vocals with drummer Will Duncan, while the rest of the band appears as a call-and-response chorus in playful tracks like "So You Go Along."
American Hymns shows the many sides of a more experienced, nuanced, and self-assured Varlet. The album contains songs that bridge in and out of multiple genres ("Liquid Wasteland"), experiment with putting two different styles of music right on top of one another (such as the lounge-y, yearning vocals layered over psychedelic shoegaze in "Meteor"), and that are simply infectious, catchy rock and pop compositions ("The Nod"). The debut LP ends with the unexpectedly straightforward "Borealis," a dark, haunting portrait of the landscape and stories that bind us all together, a collection of American hymns.
American Hymns album reviews: (Thanks!)