When God releases a new album with his band, it seems somehow inherently necessary for a blog called In Search of Rock Gods to review said album on said blog…
That’s right, God released an album. Well, the actor who played God on my other slightly obsessive passion, Supernatural, did. (Uhhhh spoiler alert – if you watch the show and haven’t yet reached the episode where God’s identity is revealed, be fair warned, I will name names below.)
I feel like I need to take a moment of silence to register the fact that the day has come where I get to gush about something Supernatural on my music blog! (I seriously love it so much when my passions crossover into each other….) But if you are not a fan of the show, don’t worry, I won’t talk much about Supernatural – this post really is about the music, the band – Louden Swain, and the album – Splitting the Seams. It’s just an interesting (super cool) side fact that this band is attached to the show.
That connection is, of course, how I found out about the band. In one of the episodes, God (fine, whatever, Rob Benedict, the actor in question), sings this beautiful folk song Fare Thee Well. It’s gorgeous. Rob’s tone and emotion just reach out and grab you by the heart. I mean, I cried. Whatever, I’m a crier…
Then, while watching YouTube videos of some of the Supernatural conferences, I quickly discovered that Rob has a band, Louden Swain, and this band performs at many (most? all?) of the Supernatural conferences (I really need to get myself to one of these!) AND then Spotify informs me that Louden Swain has a new album, Splitting The Seams, released in October 2018…
(Yah Yah, October… so I’m behind on the reviewing but you know, those other rock gods interrupted me with all their touring and then kinda wore me out with the emotions and resultant blogging – I needed a blogging break…)
Curious, hoping to hear more of that lovely voice, I clicked the album and waited with bated breath. I wasn’t sure what to expect… Sometimes, when TV/movie stars release music, its… ummm… disappointing (I’ll just say David Hasselhoff and Bruce Willis and leave it at that…).
But this is goooooood. If you know Supernatural well, you might expect a Supernatural-connected band to be classic rock-ey like the show – loud, heavy guitars and drums – and Louden Swain certainly have a repetoire that includes this style. But this album is not that. It’s this chill-axed (wow, I am really dating myself here with this lingo and mentions of David Hasselhoff’s music career…) lovely blend of folk, celtic, indie, acoustic type music. One of the songs, Big One, reminds me of Counting Crows in the delivery of the chorus (love it!). Also, there are violins. (I really like violins…)
This is good for the soul music. Like, you know, there’s music you wash dishes too, music you drive to, study to, gym to. This, for me, is contemplative, sit and read to, be creative to, sit in a bubble bath and just enjoy the gloriousness of the music and Rob’s voice.
And God’s voice is pretty awesome. I don’t know what it is about the tone, but I like it. Rich, emotive, fun. Sometimes gruff, growly. I’m thinking baritone?
Yes I said fun. Some of the songs have a humorous side (All I Need – “So I’m talking along with the frosty-haired girl at the bar. She said she’s from Mexico and I responded ‘Wow, that’s far.'”), which add to a playful quality in the delivery. Yet there’s also an intensity as well – references to Rob’s father leaving in his youth (Real Life), the stroke Rob had five years ago (Amazing).
I was going to talk about my favourite song from the album, but I can’t decide on one… Amazing is up there, it’s deeply personal, emotional, lessons that near death experiences teach you. Slow, melodic, and there are violins…
But then there’s Ready Steady, also slow and emotional. Breathy vocals with that little vocal break/crack that just gets me in songs… Man I love when singers do that! I adore the melody of the chorus, it’s just so easy to sing to, simple, yet effective.
And the drumming in Too Far Away – the build up, a constant pulse increasing in volume that builds the emotion. (It’s been a year and I am still frequently overwhelmed by the clarity of the lower notes on my Beats headphones!)
The fun, west coast vibe in CA Nation.
The celtic cèilidh feel to Trigger Finger (and the dragging vocals of “and youuuuuu you better laugh”).
Ok, I’m not gonna go through every song… (I really need to learn to write shorter posts…) They all have elements I could point out as awesome, but I’m not going too. I’m just going to say that sometimes life throws you unexpected gifts and that’s this album for me. I knew I would like it if it was anything like Rob’s performance on Fare Thee Well, but I wasn’t expecting to love it this much.
It’s become a part of the soundtrack of my life, the contemplative, creative scenes.
Louden Swain’s merch store
Swain doesn’t sound like the show because they were around long before the show. The band celebrated their 20th year playing together last year. Go find the other several albums they have out, all are so good!
Excellent point! Do you have a favourite you recommend? I’ve been listening to whatever Spotify brings up after this album finishes and love it all.