For just a trio, Raleigh certainly weaves some very complex music on their debut album New Times in Black and White.
The listen can get very intense and very surreal as the band throws compositions at you that include bass, guitar, drums and cello. The last instrument listed there is what really makes this album as enchanting as it is. Oh, and lead singers Clea Anaïs and Brock Geiger share vocal duties fairly equally and beautifully. With Matt Doherty rounding out the pack on drums, the three make a great team.
The band even knows how to make long songs worth listening to in their entirety. Songs that stretch to seven minutes are often accused of being grandiose and overinflated, but not here. In fact, the opening track “Tunnel Vision” is actually the longest track but probably the most breathtaking. Shaking strings start off the song before a guitar riff joins in. The drums eventually come in as well, and Geiger starts off the vocals by singing “Move on me like I’m a centipede.” Anaïs then joins in, showcasing her upper vocal range.
The first song should have the listener sufficiently hooked for the rest of the way in. The next song is “Balloon Boy” which conjures up images of 2009’s silly publicity stunt. Yet somehow the band manages to make it just as beautiful as their previous song.
“Drip” shows a heavier emphasis on bass and guitar and here Anaïs and Geiger share vocal duties almost completely equally. In “Wordlessness” Anaïs has the song to herself while “Murderer” belong pretty much to Geiger. The former features mostly simple keys and drums and is made even more pleasant by Anaïs’s voice. The latter is much more ominous (as the title probably implied) and Geiger sings as the chorus “I just wanted to be your man/But I think you’ve heard I’m a murderer.” Whether he means murderer literally or figuratively it’s a scary thing to consider.
The rest of the album is just as intricate and unpredictable. Oftentimes you’ll think the song is going to sound the same throughout but those beliefs can be quickly shattered with intermittent strings and melody changes.
Just based on sheer choice of instruments, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a band like Raleigh around elsewhere. So take it upon yourself to visit their Bandcamp page and give New Times in Black and White a try.
Top Tracks: “Tunnel Vision”; “Marrow”
Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good) +*swoop*