Auld Lang Syne
Throughout its 12-plus years of existence, the band has consistently written freshly melodic songs that draw from some of America’s richest musical traditions: blues, rock, and soul. Its newest full-length CD,“Nostalgia” (released on March 17) presents Auld Lang Syne as a polished roots rock duo that utilizes the knowing, mournful poetry of blues and folk music to recall a ’60s and ’70s pop sound that brilliantly synthesized rock, country, and soul.
And from the first lines of the opening track, “Safeway,” Auld Lang Syne performs its signature tightrope-walk between nihilism and restless hope. Timothy’s soulful voice has a tone of ardent resignation, filtered through darkly introspective lyrics: “I’m just a bag of wind blowing through the parking lot of Safeway, twistin’, jivin’, twirlin’, I won’t stop.”
Timothy’s musical agility and skill in employing disparate vocal timbres are also on display. He’s always demonstrated an ability to sing phrases sweet and smooth, but there’s more snarling swagger on “Nostalgia.”
If there’s such a thing as “melodic growling,” he nails it — particularly on the standout title track, with its Motown-esque flow and classic rock arrangement. Honky-tonk gets some serious play, too, particularly when blues guitar meets southern rock on the delightfully sentimental “Before I Was Born.”
But while rock ‘n’ roll is a key component in Auld Lang Syne’s sound, an indispensable element throughout its discography has been folksy, harmony-rich duets with ethereal, at times wispy vocal tones (previously released songs such as “Tree on Fire,” After the Rain,” and “Wolf” are prime examples). The new album delivers with Kathy on lead vocals for the likes of “Calamity Jane,” “Unwind,” and the closing track “Irene Goodnight.”
Daniel J. Kushner is CITY’s music editor. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.