Album review: PETRICHOR – What We’ve Noticed

PETRICHOR - What We've Noticed

[Release date 02.01.16]

Written, recorded, and produced over four years – from the middle of high school to college – What We’ve Noticed is a remarkably mature debut from Massachusetts-based seven piece band Petrichor.

With three vocalists and the use of brass, the overall flavour is one of jazz tinged soft rock i.e. mild hints of Steely Dan with the vocals of Ella Sears and Daniel White echoing subtle shades of Jon Anderson – both individually and collectively.

A very clean production separates out the instrumentation and vocals nicely, but at times exposes the band’s lack of polish – something they make up for in endeavour.

The album opens on a high with ‘Illusions’ – sparse keys and light guitar flurries leading into a relaxed groove Sears and White’s vocals blending seamlessly before Tijuana style brass and delicate electric guitar runs take the song to another level.  It’s a sumptuous opener.

But much of what follows sounds more like work in progress – especially from a song writing perspective – the chorus line of ‘Too Small’, leans so uncomfortably close to ‘If You’re Happy and You Know Clap Your Hands’ that it’s distraction, and there’s a general absence of sufficiently strong hooks.

On the plus side, the playing is accomplished, the acoustic ‘Next To You’ shows the band’s flexibility, and the dreamy ‘Basement Hamster’s gives Sears the opportunity to shine – without any of the histrionics of many young vocalists.

There’s much to admire here, and with a little more experience guidance, Petrichor could offer something fresh that sets them apart from their contemporaries.  Ones to watch.  ***

Review by Pete Whalley

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