CD Review: Down The Line / Open The Door
Reviewed by: Sally Feller
Chicago acoustic rockers Down the Line just released their latest album “Open the Door” earlier this month. On their third studio album, the band offers up another set of chill, down-home rock with hints of folk and country.
On “Float Another Year” Levi Britton’s vocals shine, backed up by the vocals of Dan Myers, Derek Fawcett, and Dave Rothkopf. The band’s organic sound is highlighted with uncomplicated lyrics and a catchy beat. “Float Another Year” is a toe-tapping acoustic rock song that provides a strong start to the new album.
The title song follows with Myers singing lead vocals. This song sounds like summer, a few of the harmonies are even reminiscent of The Beach Boys, and this is certainly one to listen to with your top down, if you’re so lucky. A short mandolin breaks up the acoustic guitar and leads into another strong set of harmonies to wrap up the song.
My favorite on the album is up next: “To See the Ocean.” The guitar and mandolin mesh together and take you to a summer beach party with your friends. The lyrics are about the minor disappointments of a 20-something girl, something I can certainly relate to (I would like to see the ocean soon, please. Thanks).
Next up is a fun song called “Theme Song,” which brings to mind many conversations I’ve had with friends over the years as we wish we each had our own theme songs…hell, even Peter Griffin got his own theme song once. This song, in particular, sounds like it would fit nicely into their last album “For All You Break.” The simple, clean sounds of this unprocessed tune lends itself perfectly to the crisp harmonies of Down the Line.
“The Great Debate” is next: Britton’s heartfelt vocals open the song with a quiet guitar backing. This is one of the most interesting songs on “Open the Door.” It’s a haunting melodic tune that’s a bit of a break from the band’s typical fare, but they pull it off beautifully…their vocals melding as strongly as ever. The steady drumbeat livens things up a bit in the middle of the song, chugging the song along a slightly unnerving road…perhaps a road in a David Lynch movie. The road then breaks into the sunlight with the band pulling together for an upbeat harmony breakdown, ending the album on a high note, with the promise of more albums to come.
Down the Line have really come together on “Open the Door”, their years playing together melding their harmonies into a seamless musicality that’s rare to find anymore. Do yourself a favor and check them out at www.downthelineband.com.