Darker My Love fans who have come to expect reverb-filled psychedelia are going to be grossly disappointed in Alive As You Are, their third release. However, those who mourn the pleasing harmonies and jangly guitars of the now defunct Americana darlings, The Jayhawks, may have found a new band to follow.
Tim Presley lost his father before the recording of his band’s latest CD, and it affected him to the point that he changed up the entire sound of the band, which now has a more immediate, organic nature about them. While some reverb occasionally sneaks in, this is all about vocal harmonies, gentle, melodic guitars, and more than a bit of patchouli.
While Jayhawk and Yardbird influences take front and center, the guitars on “June Bloom” would fit right in at any Grateful Dead show, and “Dear Author” takes a nod from the Beatles’ George Harrison-penned “Taxman.” “18th Street America” is more Revolver-era Beatles, but with some extra organ thrown in. All blend seamlessly with other ’60s-era flower-power melodies.
Presley and bassist Rob Barbaro’s vocals intertwine well, but alone Presley is also able to spit out an occasional Dylanesque whine, such as on the shuffling “Backseat,” which sets the tone for the CD. Nothing on here jumps out at the listener, but everything becomes slowly absorbed, like a soft rain. Presley said he wanted to make a Sunday morning record. With Alive As You Are he has done that. Nothing hear will jar you awake, but it won’t put you to sleep either. It’s just a pleasing start to the day.