Reservoir – I Head You As I Walked Away

  • Cole Faulkner posted
  • Reviews

Reservoir

I Heard You As I Walked Away - Major Bear Records

A little off key, a little quirky and somewhat abrasive – Pennsylvania four-piece Reservoir makes no apologies for their latest mini album, I Heard You As I Walked Away.  The melodic seven-song outing dabbles in twinkly emo sung with a heavy heart.  Ambience is key, but the foggy rolling notes are in a word, lethargic.  A full cast of vocalists infuses every word with distinct dissonance, attempting to find harmony in layers of contrast.  But once the initial promise wears thin the album plays out as a case of the same parlor tricks on repeat. 

A simple case study of trio “Before I Leave,” Migratory” and the title track summarize everything you need to know. 

The intentionally off key and out of tune vocal and musical accompaniment opening “Before I Leave” certainly leads with a presence.  Early to jump into something of a fully backed chorus, a vocal lead yelps alongside a blanket of unconventional chords and supporting gang vocals.  But once the curtain rolls back for the next verse, in launches a tiresome instrumental bridge and listeners are left high and dry.  Rather than progress the song toward some sort of logical next step, the remainder of the band chimes in individually, hijacking the supporting role with craggy, whiny lines that fade into a pitter patter of drumming that play out the song without as much as a punchline.  One might look forward to “Bedfellow” as an extension of the track, but what is essentially the same track split into two parts hardly warrants amazement.

By the time “Migratory” rolls along, a heavyhearted track about personal disappointments, the weight of this emotional low feels entirely overdrawn.  For those that point to neighbouring track “In Passing” for a mid-album pick-me-up, it’s hard not to simply point out the similarities to the aimless meandering defining early Joie De Vivre records.  While the album’s lyrics are a point of promise, such instrumental blandness distracts from any underlying insight.

Reservoir seems quite content to let I Heard You As I Walked Away run its course without leaving much of a lasting mark.  In fact, listening to Reservoir is much like reading an essay without being able to answer that essential “so what” question.  Naturally, all but the most diehard of listeners simply won’t much incentive to revisit this otherwise forgettable collection of initially promising tunes.