When you listen to the songs from folk group batteryboy’s first album, up for air, you’re quickly exposed to a project that sounds intensely intimate.
Songs like “Choosing Sides,” “Winter’s Gate,” and “Matter of Trust” exhibit the group’s ability to showcase the sweet, yet endearingly bold vocals of lead singer Cobey Rouse against a soft sound palette filled with the sounds of the tender strumming of acoustic guitar, and the warm sounds of cello and sonoric violin melodies. Compared by The Current’s Andrea Swensson to the likes of Cloud Cult and Bon Iver, batteryboy’s music is fiercely tied to human emotions.
It’s not difficult to realize that there’s something incredibly special about this group; now five years old, the group have gradually gained an increasing following in the Twin Cities area. Batteryboy’s June 10 live acoustic performance of their upcoming album before the silence breaks was a sold-out show. With the album’s recent release, listeners have been given a taste of the band’s growth and change in tone since their first album.
Batteryboy first began as a solo project started by Rouse in the winter of 2011. Rouse explains that “the first album came out of my solo process so the songs were really personal and introspective and written for a solo player.” It wasn’t until later that more members and therefore more sounds were added to up for air.
Regarding the themes and content of this new album, Rouse says that “topically, I think it’s a more observant record than the first one. The first was looking at myself and the new one is looking at myself and everything around me.” As a songwriter, Rouse says he’s taking an “inside looking out” perspective.
The songs on before the silence breaks are an interesting evolution from the songs featured in the first album. Half of these songs were written over the last three years, while the second half were written within the past year. Soundwise, Rouse says that the second album was “written with a band in mind.”
Rouse took a ten-year hiatus from music before starting batteryboy five years ago, yet even during those ten years, he continued to write and make music, though not for public ears. As Rouse aptly puts it, this new album not only feels optimistic but “deserves to be heard by those who need to hear it.”
Batteryboy will perform at Icehouse tonight to celebrate the release of before the silence breaks.
Ruth Jiang, of St. Paul, is a sophomore at Wellesley College majoring in English. In her spare time she likes to blog about music at places like EARMILK and freelances as a music publicist.