You Be My Heart - Supporting 826 National Compilation (Review)
Review by Jack Foley
THE You Be My Heart compilation supporting 826 National is a really nice collection of songs that seek to raise funds and the profile of a non-profit organisation dedicated to offering “a variety of inventive programmes that provide under-resourced students, ages 6-18, with opportunities to explore their creativity and improve their writing skills”.
San Francisco songwriter Devon Reed, who volunteers with 826, initiated the project and wrote all the songs, which were then presented to the bands involved, and which include The Spinto Band, Bowerbirds, The Cloud Room, Maps & Atlases, Horse Feathers, Marissa Nadler and Mark Kozelek (among others).
Each band then selected a song that called to them and in turn gave it their own unique twist. And there are many highlights.
Becky Stark kicks things off with a slice of piano-based quirk pop that’s, by turns, sweet and charming. But the first real highlight is Horse Feathers’ Prove Myself, which offers up a lovely folk-pop moment that should easily appeal to fans of artists such as Joshua Radin and Paul Simon.
Bowerbirds add some gritty guitars and an alt-rock vibe to the ragged Seven Wonders before Fruit Bats drop another favourite in the form of Christen My Ship, which again employs a folk rock vibe to supremely satisfying effect, complete with retro values.
Marissa Nadler positively purrs over the bittersweet, acoustic Half As Much, Ghost & Gale maintain the tender vibe on Made-Up Lines (which almost sounds Dylan-esque) and Danielle Ate The Sandwich brings more sweet vocals and acoustic strums to While It All Away.
Elsewhere, there’s a welcome Strokesian vibe to the post-punk leaning Mrs Maquis De Sade by The Cloud Room, while The Spinto Band bring some interesting beats and guitar licks to the alt-indie Excuse Me – both of which prove favourites.
There’s solid atmospherics on the brooding folk track I Know by Mark Kozelek (whose vocals bring an Eddie Vedder vibe) and genuine warmth and harmony on the sweet Reconciliation Song from The Finches.
While there’s a shift towards more electronic territory on the darker Consider My Chariot by Field Report and easy-going tambourine backed pop on the final track, You Gave Me A Reason by Saturday Looks Good To Me.
In truth, though, this is a consistently pleasant listen that genuinely uplifts and engages.
Download picks: Horse Feathers (Prove Myself), Fruit Bats (Christen My Ship), The Cloud Room (Mrs Marquis de Sade), Danielle Ate The Sandwich (While It All Away), The Spinto Band (Excuse Me), Mark Kozelek (I Know)