By: Aaron Edwards
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Cold, Cold Heart’s debut album How The Other Half Live and Die could very well be the strongest début I’ve ever heard. It could also be the prettiest. The opening song with the soaring e-bow guitar above the smooth layers of ambience is absolutely mesmerizing, and it envelopes you and prepares you for the rest of this 36-minute journey through silken soundscapes.
If you’ve heard the Migratory Patterns EP by Lowercase Noises, then this album will sound familiar to you. The soft guitars fading in and out, coupled with the twinkly background almost mirrors that of Andy Othling’s work. Not that I mind, I know I’m not the only one who isn’t completely satisfied with his latest work. Cold, Cold Heart comfortably fills that gap in my musical library.
When the track ‘Megan’ comes on I’m almost immediately reminded of Years of Rice and Salt, with the reverberated piano atop strings, and the timbre of the guitar send my mind reeling to Nothing of Cities and Service Bell EP. In fact, every time I had finished listening to How The Other Half Live and Die I found myself wanting to listen to Nothing of Cities immediately. It’s remarkable how well these two albums go together., which is odd, seeing how all three of the other albums I’ve mentioned have something that Cold, Cold Heart doesn’t: A crescendo.
This album is completely without a crescendo. There is a small swell in ‘Megan’ but that’s about it. The remainder of the album is completely horizontal. But I feel it’s actually one of the album’s strong points. There aren’t a whole lot of other albums who could say the same. There’s a remarkable amount of restraint and patience that goes into making an album like this, and I not only appreciate it, I enjoy it. I think sometimes it can be far too easy to just flip a switch and go balls out with the volume up to 11.
There’s beauty in the quiet, and Cold, Cold Heart have found it and exhibited it expertly. For once, I would recommend playing this album quietly.