Philadelphia based indie rock act, Bits of Alan, have taken inspiration from Rebecca Lee’s short story of the same name to create their beautiful and introspective sophomore album, Slatland.
Recorded at Everloft Studios in Chalfont, Pennsylvania, Slatland is the much awaited follow-up to Bits of Alan’s 2017 debut album, Paper Boats. Their latest offering is a lot more toned down and shows a stark departure from their previous work, opting for a less-is-more approach this time round.
The album’s opener, “Blue and Green,” was released as a single in early December of 2020. It instantly received critical acclaim, and it’s easy to see why. It warmly invites you in with a strumming acoustic guitar that is oh so melodic and sweet. Cheerful and snappy drums are effortlessly introduced and “Blue and Green” just gets more richly layered as it progresses. To say we’re off to a good start is an understatement.
“Cooking Barefoot” is mellow and eurythmic. A soul-stirring tune that, as with the entire album in truth, allows us to experience the superb and silvery vocals of singer/songwriter Greg Golbitz. “Cooking Barefoot” also serves as a wonderful example of what is achievable through purely acoustic instrumentation if it’s done correctly.
On first listen of Slatland, “Hue” was the stand out track for me. I fell in love with the song instantly. Folksy and poppy and full of heart, “Hue” features one of the most memorable choruses I’ve heard in ages. And it stays with you long after the song is over.
“Chloe” continues in a similar vein as before, but with the welcome addition of a smooth and melodic electric guitar. Another super catchy tune but lyrically, dealing with themes of loss, remembrance and nostalgia.
“Pauses in Lines,” the album’s shortest track, is similar to “Chloe” in that the infectiousness of the tune juxtaposes perfectly with the sombre and melancholic lyrics. Once again, Bits of Alan explore subjects like love, self-doubt and taking stock of one’s life. It’s amazing what can be achieved in just two minutes and two seconds.
The album wraps up with another two perfectly executed and gorgeously constructed songs, “Idiopathic” and “Queen V Dudley.” As one of his favourite tracks on the album, Golbitz states that “Idiopathic” is about “the end phases of a relationship.” But, unlike “Blue and Green,” it is direct in its message. “Queen V Dudley” ends the album the way it began, with a cosy and alluring acoustic guitar and Golbitz’s superb lyrical storytelling.
With more music and live shows planned for the future, Bits of Alan shows no signs of slowing down. And for music lovers all around the world, that’s extremely welcome news.
Bits of Alan » Scatland
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This coverage was created in collaboration with Musosoup as part of the #SustainableCurator movement.