The Head and the Heart – Let’s Be Still

written by: October 9, 2013
Album-art-for-Let's-Be-Still-by-The-Head-and-the-Heart Release Date: October 15, 2013


Let’s Be Still  may only be the second release from The Head and the Heart, but it stands out in its musical maturity. The album has a diverse tracklist—each song has a different vibe, but it all still sounds like The Head and the Heart.

This album is marked by a distinct brand of honesty in the musicianship. The songs range from boisterous and full to a soft, intimate sound that creates an air of sentiment.

The opening track “Homecoming Heroes” has a thumping percussion complemented by piano. In contrast, on “Josh McBride,” the vocal and instrumental harmonies build a rich, yet soft sentimental sound.

The album’s honesty is heard lyrically, too. The Track “10,000 Weight in Gold” is about leaving family behind in favor of the road and the emotional weight that carries. “If you take the kids and go/I can’t blame you for the things you know/When I’m out there on the road/I think of you and those kids at home,” Russell sings. The music fluctuates between a full, percussion-heavy sound to a solo vocal riff and acoustic guitar, with a slowed break in the middle.

The Head and the Heart sounds like an indie folk band on the majority of Let’s Be Still, relying heavily on percussion contrasting with gentle violin and piano, but “Cruel” has a bit of country flavor.

The ballad has a twanging guitar and fiddle, and lead singer Jon Russell sounds raspy and forceful on the hook. Though “Cruel” has a different feel than the rest of the album, it fits into the larger picture of Let’s Be Still.

Lead single “Shake” has full instrumentation that makes it sonically satisfying. An electric guitar revs it up initially before being joined by lots of percussion, piano, bass, and keys; the members of The Head and the Heart are fully throwing themselves behind the music. “Shake” opens with the lyrics, “Well the ink in my pen ran dry/Long before your smile/And the pages have always been blank/Like the trees in the wild.”

There is something particularly unique about The Head and the Heart’s sound. The way the instruments expertly complement each other shows the band’s musicianship both collectively and individually.

Additionally, the incorporation of female vocals from Charity Rose Thielen helps to keep the group’s sound balanced. Her sweet, yet still forceful voice adds softness to Russell’s harsher, heartier vocals. In fact, Thielin’s singing ought to have been more central throughout the album. She is featured more heavily on “Summertime” and “These Days Are Numbered,” where she brings a different emotional weight that rounds out the tracks.

It is surprising that this is only the second album from The Head and the Heart; the group’s obvious comfort playing together suggests years of collaboration. This sophomore release has a never-ending list of strengths that make it irresistible from start to finish. Let’s Be Still goes beyond the indie/folk genre, putting The Head and the Heart in a small subcategory of its own.

The Head and The Heart – Let’s Be Still tracklist:

  1. “Homecoming Heroes”
  2. “Another Story”
  3. “Springtime”
  4. “Summertime”
  5. “Josh McBride”
  6. “Shake”
  7. “Cruel”
  8. “Let’s Be Still”
  9. “My Friends”
  10. “10,000 Weight in Gold”
  11. “Fire / Fear”
  12. “These Days are Numbered”
  13. “Gone”