Album Review: In Tall Buildings ‘Driver’


In Tall Buildings Driver

One of the hardest things to do is critically evaluate anything and I really mean anything, especially, without comparing and contrasting. It’s how we are wired – grouping like things, omitting others. So… I wanted to make it a point to discuss In Tall Buildings’ latest release Driver without alluding to the possibility of external likeness or how it would differ from similarly accomplished works. Now I know this is not a novel idea, actually I know for a fact that it is the norm as far as reviews go but for me it’s a new experience and an attempt at growth – relieving me of my past attempts; more than likely failures. Alright, no more delaying! (although I’m pretty sure I was going somewhere with that) In Tall Buildings is Chicago based Erik Hall whom of which is a multi instrumentalist, controlling the deep seeded aspects of the arraying music he makes. In 2010, Hall released his 8 track self-titled debut, which introduced us to In Tall Buildings’ way of thinking – no rules regarding which instruments to use and where to put them in establishing a finished product. In 2010, Hall forged, in spectacular fashion, beautiful guitar picking among other easy to notice aspects of natural music and intangible aspects of unnatural music (programmed auxiliary percussion, synth warbles), most noticeable on the eager fast paced “Good Fences.” But that was 2010, what about now? Well now, just as I have decided to try something new in my approach to explaining what I hear, In Tall Buildings have brought new light in their 2015 release – while not in foregoing fashion or reinvention, In Tall Buildings has decided to embellish on the unnatural aspects of his music. Progress is the approach and in spite of the nostalgic anchor keeping them from moving too far too fast, In Tall Buildings have created an interesting work full of eclectic heir, vocal fortitude – all with an impressive lack of monotony.

Driver feels alive and on course to be the predecessor of something bigger. Musically diverse, each track moves to develop it’s own unique experience – “Bawl Cry Wail”, which is Driver‘s single and understandably so, addresses over exaggerated reactions, which we know as temper tantrums in mocking fashion, “when you phoned, I was out, Bawl Cry Wail… I’ve seen this episode.” The first four tracks on the album are strategically placed, sucking you into lush musicianship and accompanying siren like melodies, soft but punctual – as the vocal melody in “All You Pine” moves from soft verse phrasings to the almost strained wailing of the lyrics “under my entire line, all you can dream, all you pine’ all of this sitting on top of one of the coolest/slankiest basslines I’ve ever heard. Now I can’t speak one way or another about what Driver as a title actually means but as far as I am concerned, it’s representative of the driving force of progress. Go for a walk and throw on your headphones, In Tall Buildings might not be a household name but if Driver doesn’t inspire you, you probably don’t have ears.

Sufjan… watch out. 😉

“Bawl Cry Wail”
“All You Pine”
“I’ll Be Up Soon”


-Rob Leonard


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