Page France (no, not Sage Francis) is a feel good folk, indie-pop sensation. All you fans of the guy-girl duel vocals (i.e. The Hush Sound) should’ve taken notice of this band last year, but if you didn’t, here’s your chance. Last year they released one of my favorite albums, Hello, Dear Wind, and immediately staked their claim in my “bands to be on the lookout for” radar. Drawing comparisons from The New Amsterdams and Death Cab For Cutie, this Baltimore, Maryland quartet perfected a sound full of beauty, pop and poetry that showed a lot of promise. Well, we wouldn’t have to wait very long to see where this promise would lead. Pretty much right after the release of Hello, Dear Wind, the band announced they’d be releasing two EPs (and possibly another full-length) in 2006.
The first of the two EPs, Pears, instantly grabbed me with the opening track, “Million Man Money Hand.” The first verse right away made me think of The Magic Numbers and that very distinct 60s era pop sound that I grew up listening to in the car with my mother. The song, while bringing a smile to your face, is the musical equivalent to sitting under a tree on a sunny day while feeling the breeze graze across your skin. From the get go, things were looking good.
The combination of Michael Nau and Whitney McGraw’s vocals, like on their previous efforts, shines throughout all 8 tracks. Listening to these two trade off on Nau’s very personal lyrics, you can’t help but think these two were meant to be making music together. Perfect is the only word that comes to mind. From the first track I mentioned to “Talking Out-Louds” to “Young One,” the charm of their voices beams. Their range, melody and harmony are so well-played off each other that I’m almost lead to believe this band wouldn’t be nearly the same if it was one without the other; it’d kind of be like having the peanut butter without the jelly, I suppose. Pears is the upbeat, pop soaked in soul endeavor of the two EPs; perfect for a bright, warm day.
Like I said, if you’re a fan of any of the bands I mentioned in this review for comparison purposes, then this band is right up your alley. After hearing Hello, Dear Wind and these two EPs (read the review for Sister Pineconehere), the band has climbed even further up my awareness ladder and are definitely becoming one of my personal favorites. Indie fans, folk fans, pop fans, oldies fans, etc. can all unite and enjoy a band that’s writing and creating timeless music for people of all ages.
This band is excellent but there's a lot more in their music that you could have mentioned. I haven't heard these EPs other than in a live format, but their last record leads me to believe that this review could have had a lot more substance. Still, you made it a positive review, so props for that.