9/13/10 Boston Band Crush: Peripheral People

C.D. On Songs: The HeartSleeves - "Peripheral People"      (return to Reviews)

From September 13, 2010 by C.D. Di Guardia

These dudes don’t have a show coming up - not that I know about anyway. But they are doing stuff I like. Like giving it all away. That’s right, you can download their songs for the price of freedom on their Bandcamp website. Isn’t that just so post-modern you can’t stand it? Trust me, you can stand it. You can stand it just fine.

Peripheral People” begins earnestly, as is gathering its wits about itself for a jog through your ears. A low range guitar picks out a 1-3-5 arpeggiation of the tonic, creating a musical motif that will be the primary driving force behind this track. The three-note motif is echoed and riffed upon during the song, mostly by a tenor saxophone and various forms of guitars, both bass and “normal.”

Almost every other part of “Peripheral People” finds its inception (sorry, Leo) in this unassuming little musical statement. The HeartSleeves bring the song through its medium-tempo paces, keeping the melody and musical center of the song down low where it can deliver the maximum power. A beefy, powerful vocal is the centerpiece of the track - everything else sets the table but vocalist Jared Lucas Nathanson brings the steak.

There is no weak spot in “Peripheral People” - even when hitting his high notes at the top of his range, Nathanson’s voice is broad and and powerful. The instruments, once having found their cruising altitude, have a little bit of fun with the song, backing each other up for tiny little side-explorations into alternate destinations for the melody. The entire affair takes a few enjoyable little swerves towards the end of the track. These little journeys go unheralded until the very end, adding a fun little twist on the end of a strong, straight-up track.