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Living Mirage

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Review

The follow-up to 2016's chart-topping Signs of Light, Living Mirage sees the Head and the Heart operating without co-founder Josiah Johnson, who left the group amicably shortly after Signs of Light's release -- replacing him on guitar and vocals is Matt Gervais, the husband of violinist and vocalist Charity Rose Thielen. The Seattle group's fourth full-length effort and their second outing for Warner Bros, the 11-track set continues to mostly eschew the rural folk-rock of their first two records for a more radio-ready approach that hews closer to "Little Lies"-era Fleetwood Mac than it does Fleet Foxes or the Avett Brothers. Still, there is a sort of sanguine rusticity that runs through the LP that evokes the breezy folk-pop of contemporaries like Of Monsters and Men and the Lumineers, especially on the slow-churning title track and the life-affirming opener "See you Through My Eyes." The glossy production that made Signs of Light a tad divisive is dialed back a bit this time around, but there's no denying the band's pivot toward pop, as evidenced by the lead singles "Missed Connections" and "Honeybee," both of which exhibit a significant electro-folk sheen. As per usual, the Head and the Heart excel at delivering familiar melodies paired with lyrics that look inward, yet just far enough into the abyss to wring out some sort of generic catharsis. As emotionally and musically on the nose as songs like "Running Through Hell" and "Saving Grace" are, they, like all of the material on Living Mirage, are executed with great care and performed with genuine spirit. That the album ends with just Jonathan Russell and his acoustic guitar looking for refuge inside the embassy of music is fitting. Stripped of all of the bells and whistles, the Head and the Heart are as homespun and simple as they come, and it's in that state of undress where those relatable words and melodies most resonate. ~ James Christopher Monger
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  1. # Track Artist Length
  2. 1 See You Through My Eyes The Head and the Heart 3:52
  3. 2 Missed Connection The Head and the Heart 3:14
  4. 3 People Need a Melody The Head and the Heart 4:10
  5. 4 Honeybee The Head and the Heart 3:14
  6. 5 Brenda The Head and the Heart 3:48
  7. 6 Running Through Hell The Head and the Heart 3:37
  8. 7 Up Against the Wall The Head and the Heart 3:30
  9. 8 Saving Grace The Head and the Heart 3:36
  10. 9 I Found Out The Head and the Heart 3:52
  11. 10 Living Mirage The Head and the Heart 5:12
  12. 11 Glory of Music The Head and the Heart 3:19

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