All important, yes. Maybe even revolutionary, as far as their impact on changing the culture-at-large has been. But there’s another side to Rock & Roll, a quieter and even musically polite side.
Call it Chamber Pop, Baroque Rock, Orchestral Rock (as many have) or whatever, but the characteristics are thoughtfully introspective lyrics, naturalistic vocals, sumptuous melodies and arrangements featuring string sections, brass and exotic coloration from resonant acoustic instruments.
There is rhythm (it is Rock, after all), but searing electric-guitar solos are kept to a minimum.
You can trace it back at least to The Beatles and “Yesterday” — one of the most famous songs ever produced by a Rock band.
A particularly fine new addition to the genre is Seattle’s six-piece Hey Marseilles, which is appearing at Southgate House Revival on Tuesday in support of the new and musically elegant Lines We Trace album, its second.
On songs like “Tide,” Elegy,” “Rainfall” and “Café Lights,” Matt Bishop’s voice consoles and soothes even as it allows for a sense of mystery and a tinge of regret. The other members provide an expansive but delicate sound with cello, viola, drums, guitar, keyboards, accordion and subtle harmonies.It’s music that feels like it’s been shaped by the rainy, intimate, sophisticated urban culture that is Seattle’s, but one that can inspire romantics everywhere.
HEY MARSEILLES plays Tuesday, June 25 at Newport's Southgate House Revival in the Revival Room. Buy tickets, check out performance times and get venue details here.