MP3 Nyr Lif - Two Legs Broken
Fresh, calming, beautiful music. Complex, electronic melodies intertwined with Guitar, Mandolin, Bass, Classical, etc. -Indie Bluegrass.
11 MP3 Songs in this album (50:59) !
Related styles: ELECTRONIC: Ambient, FOLK: Progressive Folk
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In this new renaissance of independent music from Pocatello, Idaho, one band somehow manages to continually impress me. This band is Nyr Lif. Composed of two members, Casey Cathey and Shawn Barkdull, and two acoustic guitars, they play as if they are merely vessels or mediums in which something on a higher musical level is playing through them. Anyone who has seen them live can attest to this. At their best, their music is inviting, experimental yet listenable, modern yet soaked in folk tradition, and can even recall the most bluesy moments of their heroes Led Zeppelin. Even more impressive is the age of these two kids, as they have both recently graduated from high school in the spring of 08. But don’t let their age fool you, their music has shown more experience and maturity than most modern rock hit-makers in their thirties. On a rainy, September day in a crowded performance at the Portneuf Valley Brewery, Nyr Lif released their first full length album Two Legs Broken, following up last year’s brilliant Experimentallation EP.
In many ways this album is both a perfect companion piece to Experimentallation, but in many ways that EP was only a taste of what was to come. Opening with their familiar wind blowing effects, the opening cords to “The Light Is On” then starts, and the song blossoms from a simple folk melody to a multi-layered soundscape peppered with hints of bluegrass. A fine enough opening track that sounds like it would have fit well on last year’s EP. What comes next is my personal favorite song on the album simply titled “Track 2”, and it is from this point that the album takes off and never looks back. Mixing their more traditional finger picking, a more playful electric guitar sound, and synthetic beats, we can hear exactly where this band has progressed and get a feel for what Two Legs Broken is all about. And what is this album all about you ask? This disk plays well to the strengths of Nyr Lif as a band. The songs are majestic and lush, tense when they need to be, but generally always come with a happy ending. Using vocals sparingly, like another instrument or as light accent to the music, this album, like the previous, is largely instrumental, but is never boring or inactive. Much like the bands Do Make Say Think, Mogwai, and Explosions In the Sky, this band focuses on music as a means of creating emotional textures, and like those bands they can do so without the need for lyrics to literally spell it out for you. Yet unlike those bands, and other acts under the post-rock moniker, Nyr Lif does not become slaves to the genre’s expectations or simply become Slint rip-offs thrice removed. Instead they have a certain warmth and woody quality that comes from their folk and acoustic backgrounds. Though stand out tracks like the epic Banjo and Untitled use vocals very well and frequently. In the ballad, “Miss Blue”, Nyr Lif has written their most tradition song yet. Sounding a bit like a cross between Iron and Wine’s Sam Beam and My Morning Jacket’s Jim James, Shawn Barkdull sings a simple verse/chorus folk song that ironically comes off as their most risky move in an album full of segmented instrumentals. Finally the album comes down with the beautifully arranged “An Instrumental For Your Ears”, and the quaint “Farewell” that gives listeners a hint of Cathey’s musical range and versatility as a musician.
Because of their youth it would be easy to say Nyr Lif is a good band for their age, but the truth is after seeing them play live and hearing their recordings, I can say with confidence that Nyr Lif is not only a good band, but a great band for any age. I can also say that Two Legs Broken is better than some professionally recorded albums I have purchased this year. Both the recording quality and the quality of their song craft is very impressive, and like all great albums, this album reveals and rewards you more with multiple listens.
-Cassidy Robinson, Gate City Swill