Let me start by saying, that covering this record is a bit poetic. I have come full circle. You see this is my first review for Tuned Up in two years. Nine years ago, my second review for Tuned Up was by emo band Brave Bird, if you have never listened to them, you should, Anyways the label they were on was Count Your Lucky Stars. Which is the label that this record is on, and it also just happens to be owned by Keith Latinen, the singer of Mt. Oriander.
In my head Tuned Up and CYLS go hand in hand, both were instrumental in my early 2010s musical journey. I still have a TU and CYLS button next together on a hoodie. So, for this to be my first review back, I am stoked.
Then the Lightness Leaves and I Become Heavy Again starts with a nice little instrumental number. One of the things I look for in an album is a good opener. I feel a good opener should set the tone for what is to come. Listening to an album is a journey and adventure, and with any trip, a good start is nice, and that is exactly what this track does. It is a feeling of calmness. It puts your mind at ease. Then it just slides right into the next track, “What We Have is You.” The pace quickly picks up and we have our first real taste of what the album is about. From that first note, I am instantly teleported back to 2013. Speaking of 2013, one of the best tracks, “If This is Sadness, I Don’t Like It One Bit”, has that year written all over it. And it does not help that Brandon Lutmer of Joie De Vivre fame and Warren Franklin are both on the track. The three of them on one track is a beautiful thing, their voices complement each other so well. It is making me wonder if the three of them have done a project together, if not, they should. “A Drawing of a Bird that You Have Never Seen Before” is the next track and it’s one with a somber feeling that is welcomed. The line, “I do not need you to fix me “is repeated throughout the song and it adds to the somber feeling. It is a really good touch. This track also has some of the best harmonies on the record. Another standout track is “Rare Frog Coin.” It is a more upbeat track. At times it is a bit chaotic but in a very welcoming way. It gives the song character. The last song, “You Don’t Have to Keep trying Anymore,” is a great closer. It is one of those songs that the first time I heard it, I had to play it again, and again, and again. I could not stop listening, it sucked me in. It is that good. And once again, the harmonies are outstanding. This time it is with Elliott Green. I then had to go look her up because she was amazing on this track. Yes, you should give her a listen too. I love that the last 2 minutes are instrumental. The album started that way, and its ends that way. The journey is over.
If you listen to bands like Joie de Vivre, Dowsing, Snowing, and Empire! Empire! ( i was a lonely estate) then you will enjoy this album. Follow Mt. Oriander here.