Posted on January 5th, 2015 (4:00 pm) by Shayna Parr

Shakey Graves, the stage name of one-man band Alejandro Rose-Garcia, burst onto the music scene in 2011 with a makeshift kickdrum and a sparse, folky sound. His new album, And the War Came, is more richly orchestrated, though still maintains the quick tempo changes and wailing vocals of his early work. And the War Came is lo-fi Americana with a huge kick, sure to appeal to music lovers of all styles.

The track “Only Son” shows Rose-Garcia’s vulnerability through soft, raspy vocals, lonely lyrics, and his signature sparse instrumentation. "Dearly Departed" (which features folk musician, Esmé Patterson) picks up the pace and layers the music with a foot-stomping beat and Patterson’s sultry, suave harmony. Their strong chemistry is akin to that of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros on “Home,” and their joy and passion is equally palpable. Patterson keeps up with Rose-Garcia’s raspy, wailing vocals expertly, challenging them and melding with them to create a truly gorgeous track.

The next track, “Perfect Paths,” really capitalizes on the dark, raspy tone of Rose-Garcia’s voice, which sounds as crunchy and deep as the guitar accompanying it. “Hard Wired” lightens the album up with its lyrics of love while Rose-Garcia’s voice breaks and shows vulnerability in all the right places.

“Big Time Nashville Star,” with its thumping, blocky guitar strumming and tight harmonies is the next standout, followed by the much softer, more subtle “Pansy Waltz.” “Pansy Waltz” maintains the power of the earlier tracks despite its more contemplative nature and delicate beat. “House of Winston” is another soft track, focusing on folk elements rather than some of the more rock-driven tracks. On this song, the guitars twang beautifully against Rose-Garcia’s voice, which picks up a twang-like sound of its own.

The penultimate song, “If Not For You,” brings back the roughness of Rose-Gracia's earlier album, but also has a sense of sweetness in his raw and emotional falsetto. This rawness is also loud and proud on the final track, “Call It Heaven,” as Rose-Garcia sings, “you left your heart inside my chest.” This anthem of love and pain is the perfect conclusion to this passionate, joyful, and emotional record, bringing all the elements of Rose-Garcia’s style together beautifully.

And the War Came is music at its most excellent, with each song packing a punch in its own right. From this record, it is clear that Shakey Graves has a lot to bring to the musical table, and we can’t wait to see what he does next.

Track List:

  1. This is the Beginning
  2. Only Son
  3. Dearly Departed
  4. Perfect Paths
  5. Hard Wired
  6. Family and Genus
  7. Big Time Nashville Star
  8. Pansy Waltz
  9. House of Winston
  10. If Not For You
  11. Call It Heaven
Shakey Graves - And the War Came Review
Purchase at: Amazon | eMusic

Our Rating

80 / 100
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