A Sorrow-ful Unknown Science

Ode to Joy
By SAM PFEIFLE  |  September 7, 2011

What's been a kick-ass bluegrass festival season — Ossipee Valley, Saddleback, and Thomas Point Beach were all stand-outs — has a wonderful coda this weekend with Henryfest, which will feature kind-of-Mainers Joy Kills Sorrow (guitarist/founder Matthew Arcara lives here), which once featured Stowaway Joe Walsh and who release this week their second album, This Unknown Science, recorded up in Parsonsfield with Sam Kassirer at Great North Sound Society (David Wax Museum, Josh Ritter).

Fronted by Emma Beaton's haunting vocals, made all the more resonant with inventive mic'ing techniques and subtle effects, this is a band that can be achingly beautiful, bringing in indie sensibility like the Head and the Heart and Fleet Foxes and using banjos and ukuleles in everything from murder ballads to jazzy sashays.

The best track might be "Jason," a lilting fog of sound, rambling and enveloping the listener in a seductive croon, but these are the kinds of songs in which you're likely to find an emotional touchpoint, and each listener will be grabbed by something different on a standout album by a rising band.

Sam Pfeifle can be reached atsam_pfeifle@yahoo.com.

THIS UNKNOWN SCIENCE | Released by Joy Kills Sorrow | at Henryfest, at Skyline Farm, in North Yarmouth | Sept 11 | at One Longfellow Square, in Portland | Oct 6 | joykillssorrow.com

Related: Fall Books Preview: Reading list, Getting down and dirty with Joe Walsh, Old friends return, More more >
  Topics: CD Reviews , Josh Ritter, Sam Kassirer, David Wax Museum,  More more >
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