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The Head & the Heart

The Head & the Heart (Sub Pop)

Reviewed by Doug Freeman, Fri., Sept. 16, 2011

ACL Music Fest Sunday Reviews

The Head & the Heart

(Sub Pop)

It's impossible to ignore the Mumford & Sons in this Seattle sextet, a sound that itself was a watered-down take on the Avett Brothers' Americana. Jonathan Russell and Josiah Johnson's vocals carry the same gentle grit of their British brethren, bent atop poppier piano runs on opening shots "Cats and Dogs" and "Coeur d'Alene." The saving grace – and charming divergent promise – of The Head and the Heart lies in Charity Rose Thielen, whose vocals add engaging elements that hearken a more subdued Jolie Holland and Erika Wennerstrom on "Rivers and Roads" and "Winter Song." Everything on this eponymous debut is quaintly beautiful and appealingly executed, with a result that shines well onstage. The tunes are also all ultimately forgettable, failing to strike any fire to a form fast becoming mere mimicry. There's potential in the chemistry, but no daring. (1:30pm, Google+ stage)

**

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