The Accidentals – Vessel
The Accidentals, formed in Michigan in 2012, is a captivating eclectic blend of music. If you are an aficionado of the flavors that originated with groups like Til’ Tuesday with Aimee Mann, 10,000 Maniacs with Natalie Merchant/Mary Ramsey, or as far back as the better 60s female vocal groups — this may be your new fix — the next level.
Melodic, steady, with a pinch of rock & punk run through a colander of pop sensibilities their musical hocus pocus is interesting.
The new LP began with producers John Congleton (Lana Del Rey) & Tucker Martine (The Decemberists) then Covid reared its ugly head. Not to be deterred, the Accidentals moved gear to an attic with state-of-the-art recording equipment & proceeded to finish as co-producers.
The trio has a grassroots following & with-it critical acclaim. “Count the Rings,” from their new CD is jangly with guitars & lit by bright vocals as they lay down some wonderful harmonies & vocal treatments.
Possessing a young approach there’s nothing lame about their arrangements & showcase. These are mature stylists, songwriters who add their instrumentation thoughtfully to each cut. “Go-Getter,” has a crisp folk-pop vocal in addition to a 60s melodic tint that takes a cue from the past.
Savannah (Sav) Buist (lead vocals/acoustic-electric guitars/bass/piano/violin/viola/cello/mandolin/ukulele/percussion), Katie Larson (lead vocals/accordion/acoustic-electric guitars/cello/ukulele/ piano/glockenspiel/bass/kazoo), join Michael Dause (drums/percussion/vocals/guitar).
Vessel (Drops Oct 1-Independent) is their 4th LP with 14-songs. The title track is more mystical-lite in a Dead Can Dance manner. Heavy bass line, snap to the drums & captivating vocals. Not commercial in nature but the trio explores statelier sweeping musical arenas. Violins swish in loud & cool. Quite different from the average radio pop song. Nearly as avant-garde as early performance artist Laurie Anderson.
“Slow and Steady,” is bundled up in a catchier mainstream wave. Musicians are tight, & still, the trio has roots (though they’re too young to be aware) in the pop derived from the 60s female groups. Those that exuded melody, edginess with good arrangements: The Shangri-Las (“Sweet Sounds of Summer” – mystical/haunting), the Chiffons (“Nobody Knows What’s Going On In My Mind But Me,” with its marvelous chord changes, & descending scale, “Sweet Talking Guy” with terrific harmonies), the Toys (“Lover’s Concerto” with a Bach melody). All more commercial but had moments when they too sounded impressive.
The Accidentals tantalize throughout & have diversified musicianship. Their vocals are always pristine. Are they compelling writers? No. They’re good singers who write good songs that fit their repertoire & are smart enough not to over-reach. Compelling is Bob Dylan, Townes van Zandt, Leonard Cohen, & in some respects Laura Nyro. The Accidentals aren’t in that arena, yet. And shouldn’t be – that’s not their forte. They have a captivating sound that works.
Color image courtesy of their website.
Available @ Bandcamp + https://www.theaccidentalsmusic.com/about