(Indian Ledge Records, 2009)
We first heard Alta Mira three years ago, when they were sharing the stage with the haunting Lisa Germano at Valentine’s Music Hall. We immediately became fans.
A year later, the young quartet released their debut disc on Indian Ledge Records. The EP “Fables and Fabrications” caught a lot of ears and garnered the band lots of great press.
Now they’re finally unleashing their first full-length album. It’s about time. And it’s worth the wait.
Alta Mira’s sound is difficult to pin down. It’s certainly not any kind of straight-forward rock formula. It’s complex, intoxicating. This is challenging stuff.
Joe Michon-Huneau‘s passionate, open-hearted vocals immediately leap to front-and-center, while drummer Tommy Krebs and brothers Hunter and August Sagehorn (on bass and guitar, respectively) mold the songs with intricate, imaginative arrangements like seasoned sonic sculptors. Tempos and moods shift 180-degrees in a heartbeat. And back again. Is it art-rock anchored in funk? It shimmers as much as it shakes. It’s delicate, yet dynamic. It’s purposefully disorienting. There’s genuine drama here.
Take, for example, “The End of My,” which sounds something like Jeff Buckley singing an incredibly contagious Marshall Crenshaw song backed by the Police’s Andy Summer. And that’s followed by the compelling, yet understated instrumental “Interlude.”
The band’s sound has drawn comparisons to such diverse influences as Radiohead, Incubus, the Beatles, Talking Heads, Verve Pipe, XTC, Jerry Cantrell, the Mars Volta, Tool, the Sea and Cake. They’re all right. And all wrong. Alta Mira’s music unfolds at its own pace to reveal its altogether unique inner beauty.
Alta Mira celebrates the release of their self-titled album debut at Revolution Hall in Troy on Saturday (December 5). They’re calling it “The Alta Mira CD Release Experiment,” and the festivities includes art installations, interactive 360-degree video and music by Alta Mira, Railbird, Matthew Loiacono and Matt Durfee. Doors open at 7pm. Admission is $10, which includes a copy of the new CD.