Hailing from the somewhat improbable locale of Flagstaff, Arizona, the five pieceTow’rs is a reminder of how great care can result in great things. The warm glow of creativity never fades from this collection, but it is clear the nine songs on their album Grey Fidelity are curated with tremendous focus on striking all the right notes. The husband and wife team of Kyle and Gretta Miller lead the musical and lyrical way on these songs, but they are accompanied by personal friends and musicians more than capable of helping them bring their artistic vision to life. The lyrics deal with a number of weighty themes but never with an ounce of pretension and they are presented in seamless accord with the music rather than subservient to or above the arrangement somehow. The album’s delicately rendered landscapes are evocative rather than leaden and charmless and, furthermore, there’s not a second of self-indulgence heard anywhere.
The album’s leadoff track, “Girl in Calico”, sounds like Grey Fidelity’s natural opener. There’s a colorful cloud of electric guitar beginning the track before it dissipates into a beautiful plaintive and cleanly recorded six string melody. The obvious patience behind the playing, the willingness to articulate every note, and the gorgeous vocal phrasing make this an immediate standout. “Alright” has some surprisingly assertive drumming for this album but it works quite well. The Millers’ vocals consistently clear the same high bars they set for themselves throughout Grey Fidelity, but this is one of their peak performances thanks to how complementary their phrasing proves to be with the musical arrangement. The playing as a sort of low-key amble that makes it instantly inviting. There’s a patient sensibility guiding the development of “Gold Parade” and it allows listeners a clearer opportunity to focus on the band’s lyrics than before. They are vague, yet specific enough to resonate, and remain accessible despite their often seemingly personal touches. “Liminal” is cast a shuffle with a slight, interesting stutter that somehow suggests an added sensitivity. It’s one of the best numbers of Grey Fidelity thanks to its chorus and the aching vulnerability manifested in both the vocals and words.
“Consolations” is another fine outing for the band. It is a little surprising as well with its sinewy groove, echo-laden electric guitar fills, and silky smooth transitions. Call it Tow’rs taking a turn with some light R&B. The unexpected flourishes take it in a more pop art-rock direction and linger as memorable crescendos, but other subtle touches like droning violin fills and understated keyboard color bring a lot to the song as well. The penultimate track “Going” has a low-burning simmer throughout and another Gretta Miller lead vocal turn comes at just the right moment on this release. It sets a perfect stage for the finale, “Revelator Man”, a cautiously exultant track that sneakily builds its momentum. In its own way, “Revelator Man” is an ideal partner with the album’s first track and closes the release on a highly appropriate note.