Raleigh

The House on Seedling Lane (Self-released)

Wild About Harry's may primarily traffic in hot dogs, but they serve a wide selection of dogs of varying deliciousness. The House on Seedling Lane, the debut offering from local band Raleigh, is sort of like a gourmet hot dog shop, only made up of Beatlesesque folk-pop melodies and Renaissance fair instruments instead of reprocessed, unused animal parts. Eight minutes into it you have pretty good litmus of the band's dynamic: a permutation of folky songs that are kinda slow and pop songs that are kinda fast.

The album opens with "Judy," a sleepy acoustic bit garnished with cascading piano and what sounds like yawning, muffled organs or a muted string section spun in reverse. Gears immediately shift on the second track, "Filled With Money," an upbeat, frolicking rocker that stylistically lands somewhere between the New Pornographers and Elf Power. "You Know Better" is one of the album's more interesting and moodier pieces, featuring bluesy vocals, schizophrenic tempo shifts, some eerie back-masked something or other and drums zigzagging between simple shuffling, dropping out completely and the ubiquitous disco beat. The album's title track closes things out nicely, with twiddling gondola mandolin and wheezing accordion easing the listener out to sea. The album's overall production is flawless, and the songs have been put together with a noticeable amount of forethought and flourish. While there may be a few songs that provoke a shrug of indifference, most of The House on Seedling Lane offers enough hook and variance to keep most folks interested throughout its entirety. Now a Knox Street dog with sauerkraut and Swiss cheese, that's more of an acquired taste.

 
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