Must Listen: Bird Sanctuary, Lines, Do You Mind
Skip: Metal (If I HAD to choose one)
I love Vancouver, BC. As a stand-up comedian, it’s one of my all-time favorite cities to travel to. The crisp mountain air, the gorgeous green landscape, and the Pacific Ocean just steps away. What I also love about Vancouver is its musical history. A lot of great bands have called British Columbia home over the years, Skinny Puppy, The New Pornographers, and Victoria’s Hot Hot Heat just to name a few. Given that rich context, I was especially excited to review the Vancouver art-pop group, Only A Visitor’s debut offering.
Watch the video for the single "Lines" below:
”Lines” starts off with the track, Bird Sanctuary. It’s immediately unique, with a jumpy piano melody, and quirky harmonies. Musically it’s sparse-sounding but it works well in this context. We’re off to a solid start. Lines is track 2 and the first single off the album. The piano line on this one is a little more haunting which is in line with the dark lyrical content and harmonies. The chorus is hypnotic and I found myself singing it throughout the day. Catchy in a very unusual way. Moving on to Foggy Streets, we get another sparse arrangement with excellent harmonies filling in the gaps. That's this bands signature I’m finding. The Portlandia crowd is gonna love this one. Running in My Sleep is a decidedly more poppy number with a really catchy bridge. Good stuff. Metal begins with an acapella verse that evolves into a more involved piano melody than the prior tracks. Nothing wrong with it, but not my favorite track on the album. Visiting Light starts fairly uptempo in comparison to the rest of the songs but soon reaches the band’s trademark piano-harmony vibe. We move on the the seventh cut on the album, Only As We Talked, which almost sounds like a millennial version of The Prophet Song by Queen in it’s harmony arrangement at times. One of the highlights of the second half of the album. Do You Mind has a Suzanne Vega feel to it. Could be the second single. College-radio ready. Our journey ends at Feigning Innocence. It’s a fitting finale with all the things that make “Lines” great. Lead singer and composer, Robyn Jacob really shines on this one as it’s the most well sung vocal on the album in my opinion.
As far as newer art-pop goes this is tops. It doesn’t sound like anything else out there right now. “Lines” is a wonderful debut and I’m excited to see where they go from here. Only A Visitor is touring through Canada this summer and we can only hope that they hit the States at some point.
Only A Visitor is Robyn Jacob (vocals and keyboards) Emma Postl, (vocals), Celina Kurz (vocals), Jeff Gammon (Bass) and Kevin Romain (Drums).
Lines was produced by: Joseph Hirabayashi