Since their first release in 2012, Heliotropes have been making music and making a name for themselves. Founded by Jessica Numsuwankijkul, Heliotropes has a rotating group of collaborators including Gregg Giuffré, Richard Thomas, and Ricci Swift. They’ve toured in festivals nationwide, such as at SXSW, Firefly, and Culture Collide. The band has recently released their latest album, Over There That Way, and we got the chance to listen to it.
The first track on the album is “War Isn’t Over.” This track starts out immediately fast and strong, diving straight into the action. It’s guitar heavy and thoroughly rock and roll with catchy chord progressions. There’s several awesome guitar and drum instrumental breaks in various parts of the piece, before they continue to sing, “war isn’t over, I can see it in your eyes…”
The second song on the record shares the same title as the album, “Over There That Way,” This track is tamer than the first. At a moderate pace, this is a duet between a female and male voice, and reminds me slightly of a track you’d hear in a western movie. This track tells a story with the entrancing vocals and the twang of the guitar.
“Dardanelles Part I” is the next track on the record. This one slows down the tempo a bit in the beginning with definitive guitar notes, before it speeds up again and the vocals join in. This track certainly has the guitar as the star, while the vocals drift over the instrumentals, effortlessly.
As you might have guessed, the next song on this album is “Dardanelles Part II.” This one slows things way down, and feels much calmer than part one. The guitar is no longer a relentless force, but rather a soothing strum, and the vocals really shine through on this one. This track has a somber feel to it, and the vocals build momentum and then settle in each chorus, creating beautiful crescendos.
“Oh bitter heart, I wanna love,” is the first line of the next track, “My Only Friend.” This song seems more personal than the rest, like a personal anecdote being sung. The instrumentals reside in the background, with the vocals front and center. Beautiful back up harmonies support the main melody. Half step progressions are scattered throughout the piece, creating an enchanting sound.
The 6th track on this album is “I Can’t Remember.” This track has so many layers of vocals, they are each distinct but each voice comes together like single organism, complimenting each other in perfect harmony. That, combined with the rock and roll guitar and drums, creates depth in the piece, and it’s beautiful.
The very last track on Over There That Way is “Goodnight Soldier.” This piece is much softer than the rest and it’s also the shortest, at only a minute and 9 seconds long. The guitar is soft and twinkling and the vocals are slightly muffled, giving it an old timey feel, like it was an old lullaby. This tune is gentle and sweet and gorgeous and definitely one of my favorites on album. It ends the record beautifully.