Protest Hill – The City Echoes Our Hearts

Protest Hill – The City Echoes Our Hearts / 2007 Latest Flame / 11 Tracks / http://www.myspace.com/protesthill / http://www.latestflame.com /

Protest Hill plays a brand of indie-heavy pop-rock that is similar to the work of a Fray, Ben Folds, or Jack Johnson. “All That You Need” is the first track on “The City Echoes Our Hearts”, and it blends Tori Amos ‘s style of piano playing with bassy instrumentation and Bond soundtrack arrangements. The band is good at shifting their style, as “Killer’s Witt” is a song that looks back to the country-fied styles of Seven Mary Three and the Black Crowes for influences. The guitar present on this track will remind listeners of early Garth Brooks, while the vocals are a little more joyous than those put down from Thom Yorke (Radiohead).

“The City Echoes Our Hearts” moves into a Coldplay style for “Hopeful”, with the same stretched-out guitar lines and slightly nasal vocals present that have been present on pretty much anything that Coldplay has committed to disc. Even though the band seems to come back to the more pop-linked style on “The City Echoes Our Hearts”, there are tracks throughout the album that break up the overall sound and make the disc that much more filled out. This includes tracks like “In The Light of the Moon”, which stays vocal-free for well over the first minute. The subtle fury that the band creates during the track distinguishes the track from the rest of the songs on the disc, but the vocals and instrumentation during the vocal parts of the track adds some cohesion to “The City Echoes Our Hearts”.

When the band has these instrumental  interludes and openings to tracks (something that also happens during “Bell’s Song), I feel that they have much more of a storytelling ability than the vocals. The instrumentation outstrips the vocals many times during “The City Echoes Our Hearts”, and I know that the band could go an Ampline like route and sell a number of copies of a purely-instrumental album. There are compelling vocal-heavy tracks, such as “Sleep Inside the Wake”, but the band succeeds so easily when they go into an instrumental way. Protest Hill is yet another strong act that is affiliated with Latest Flame, and the band’s intricate band of indie rock will be something that fans will eat up with a spoon. I look forward to hearing more from the band in the next few years, and hope that individuals can see how inventive Protest Hill is.

Top Tracks: Boy Meets Girl, Bell’s Song

Rating: 7.3/10

Author: James McQuiston

Ph.D. in Political Science, Kent State University. I have been the editor at NeuFutur / neufutur.com since I was 15. Looking for new staff members all the time; email me if you are interested. Thanks!

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