When Hamilton Boyce and Ryan Batie stopped by my home to record an acoustic podcast, I was blown away. Their intricate harmonies and ambitiously structured folk (I'd call it prog folk, but maybe that sounds like an insult?) fill a room.
Thing is, their full band, Song Sparrow Research, are even more impressive. It starts with the drums which throb with jazzy intensity—you can see the cymbals jitter violently, commanded by a tight snare. Boyce's baritone wanderings are infectious, his guitar flourishes are electrified and their combination recalls the urgent humanity beneath Neutral Milk Hotel.
This empathy is the band's strongest asset; Song Sparrow Research embody the confusion of self awareness. They don't trust that their feelings are their own. They realize the sadness is kind of pathetic and generic, and they are self-deprecating about—recognizing that's they way 20 somethings are supposed to deal with it.
“I believe what I see maybe/ I've got no thoughts of my own” they lament, a looping logic that knows full well saying you've got no original thoughts isn't original. But, hey, who doesn't feel that way?
Song Sparrow Research release their debut LP Welcome to the Potato Famine this Saturday at the Healthy Times Fun Club.