Loyal Revival is a project consisting of 6 members, led by Loyal Frisbie-Knudsen. What began as a dare from a friend, soon turned into a 12-track album entitled “I Am a Seed”, which was completed with the help of many friends, and under the guidance of Dave Melosh at Medusa Production. The album was mastered by Emily Lazar (Bjork, Vampire Weekend, The Killers) at The Lodge in NYC, assisted by Chris Allgood.
“I Am a Seed” is a stream of lush, jangly folk pop, edged with a touch of baroque and indie-rock. It forges a rough-edged grandeur with its glorious instrumentation and vivid lyricism. Moreover there is something very warm and welcoming about Loyal Revival’s music and there is hardly a song on this album that doesn’t contain that sunniness. And even though the bittersweet songs focus on the usual heart-beating topics — family, love, loss and death — there’s a strong feeling of hopeful beauty throughout.
In fact, the lyrics are crammed with vivid and striking language. At times, the words are wrapped in pure majestic, uplifting poetry, but somehow tinged with sorrow. And there’s Loyal Frisbie-Knudsen. He sounds desolate and honest in the spare ballads, but in the more complex songs he sounds sweet, strong and truly beautiful, especially when he does that soaring thing. And I have to say, I’m a sucker for the band’s sunny chorale sound — the harmonies really make those melodies sound exquisite, and gives them a more transcendent sound than most indie folk-rock bands.
Eccentric and familiar at the same time, many of the songs are written in a progressive style, and at times you may think you are on a different track number than you actually are, but Loyal Revival don’t miss a beat in delivering an altogether solid album from start to finish. “I Am a Seed” packs a futuristic vintage punch, which feels like a subtle kiss on the cheek. The vocals are always in reverberating reverence to the past, while the playing constitutes that very same greatness. The music sounds mystically graceful and invigorating – horns and all – like it is coming from an afflictive, yet glorious and faraway place. All this is finely spun into a genius work of art unlike anything else. Making “I Am a Seed” easily one of the most original and beautiful albums to come along in a long time.
This recording really defies description. It’s at the same time very baroque and very indie-rock influenced folk. But this album does a masterful job of not overloading the production with too many influences. And the songs are extremely well constructed and performed. It is a masterpiece of arrangements and harmony, each song possessing a unique melodic algorithm that is enchanting.
You’re probably wondering why I do not mention any song titles or point out the standout track. It’s simple; there are no standouts, or better and best songs. There are even no singles or standalone tracks, in my personal opinion. This album is to be listened to in its entirety – from start to finish, if you are even to grasp the basic essence of the emotional and artful genius Loyal Revival has put to work here. Just pinpointing a track, here and there, would be the most trivial and disrespectful way to treat this consummate body of work!
If you haven’t listened to “I Am a Seed”, you should definitely try to get an earful, at your earliest possible convenience. Music is not dead. You will become a believer!