There’s a song called “City of Angels” from The Head and The Heart’s third release, Signs of Light, and the album’s cover image shows the band lounging around a pool on a sunny afternoon.
All this seems to signal a shift for the Seattle musicians away from the delicate, cloudy indie-folk sound they came up under — the same sound popularized by contemporaries like Blitzen Trapper, Avett Brothers and Mumford and Sons.
There are still acoustic instruments, high hippie harmonies and heart-in-your-throat choruses aimed both for campfire and arena audiences. But, in a word, The Head and The Heart sounds lighter but no less overly sincere, occasionally precious and, at worst, just a little contrived.
The new track “Dreamers” snakes along to a pop-soul shuffle, “City of Angels” jets down a sunny SoCal freeway and “Oh My Dear” sounds like Jeff Buckley.
And throughout the album there’s a high-gloss retro-pop overlay, like that Instagram filter, making all your photos look like bittersweet sunlit memories from the ’70s.
The Head and the Heart plays with Declan McKenna 7 pm Sunday, Oct. 9, at McDonald Theatre; $39.50 adv., $42.50 door. All-ages. — William Kennedy