Key Tracks: “Substance” “Meadow & Her Missing Wolf”
I don’t know of anyone, myself included, that’s been clamoring for a hybrid of pop melodies and emo sympathies, but that’s what makes the Raspberry Heaven sound so engaging – it’s something you didn’t know you wanted to hear until it starts playing. The band, independent and based out of Ontario, is self-described as “sad pop,” a misnomer that describes their music pretty accurately. It’s the soft subtleties of traditional pop, with the sadness and occasional lack of restraint of emo.
While some current emo-leaning bands are pushing up the volume, “Nascent Meadows” never gets much above a speaking level. Uninformed listeners could mistake “Nascent Meadows” as some sort of a lo-fi project, but it’s simply a reserved album. This is where the pop element comes in – nearly every song is kicked off by piano or acoustic guitar, creating a warm sound. The music is engaging, which strengthens the lyrics.
And that’s where some of the album’s more emo qualities come in. The lyrics are honest and personal, poetic and original. The album deals with rough topics, and it feels reflective of the people on the other side. Musically, the album treads into some different territories. “Substance” has a bit of a guitar wall at the beginning, and saves room for some gang vocals (as do a few other moments on the album). The album feels reminiscent of some of today’s lighter emo bands, if they decided to take a semi-departure from the genre.
What makes so many great albums work is hearing the musicians behind it feel invested in what they’re doing. The Raspberry Heaven – made up of Michael Hansford on Vocals, Guitar, Bass, Piano and Percussion, Jamie Chute on Vocals, Guitar and Keyboards, Rian Gravelle on Vocals, Darcy Robichaud on Guitar and Vocals, and Phillip Child on Percussion – are passionate about the music they’re creating. “Nascent Meadows” is very real and honest, and it’s evident that the band put a lot of effort into the making of the album. It’s soft and personal, and it only expands when it feels the need to. It’s a very interesting release – it seems to exist in a genre that feels foreign to listeners but natural to them. It’s got a haunting foundation-less deja vu because of it. “Nascent Meadows” will make you feel right at home, in a place you’ve never been.
The album can be streamed on their bandcamp page.
-By Andrew McNally