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Album Review | 'Dragon House'


Aboard a ship captained by Rochester alternative folk stalwart Seth Hebert-Faergolzia, Multibird's quilted layers are presented fresh with "Dragon House," the band's first release on Needlejuice Records (a lauded Nashville indie outfit whose other talents include King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard).

Upon cracks of a single snare, "Pity Party" builds in a musical round, ‘doe-a-deer’ format, but with the intricacy of a master looper — leading into the theatrical "Runners on Their Way." Meditation commences, and as the track develops into a bubble-blowing, vocalized shanty, the passenger gets a sense that the captain is also the builder.

"Feather" is a still life, both reflection on one's purpose and a minor anthem to holding on, delivered with a voracity reserved for important pleas. "Maybe I Will" is a jaunty country nursery rhyme, almost teaching a new alphabet with different sets of ABCs propelled by low horn jug chaos.

Proceeding in a Waitsian two-step, "Truest Blood" is corduroy-core in the wild — a love song with crackling fire-truck accordion, desert guitar rolls and an "Inner Light" vocalized chorus in support of singular commitment: This is all I know / Rather spend my days with you.

The alternative psych-soul of "Devil Devil" eludes demons with tempo shifts and mixed meters, and is calmed next by "Holy Mother," a quirky monastic chant. "Call To Action" features well-arranged brass atop complex forms, which aid this rapid-fire ska mosh of positivity: It does not require a gun, son...

"Hi" showcases Hebert-Faergolzia's acoustic freak-folk chops, and is comfortably in the earnest worlds of both singer-songwriter and psychedelic choral deconstruction. This open-mindedness allows for the consideration of great concepts, with the largest query of 'em all up for interpretation on "Positively Purposeful", a ballad about "everything ever" which offers a powerful turn of phrase: The meaning of life is just to enjoy it, with the right mind.

"Dragon House" allows enticing glimpses into an abbey of sorts, clearing space for its listener to reflect and convene alongside the devout.

Ryan Yarmel is a contributer to CITY and music director of The Route. He can be reached at [email protected].