9Tomorrows has pulled out all the stops on Gravity In Love, their second studio release. It is obvious that the band has drawn in influences from all sides of the music spectrum into this album; there’s pop, alternative, acoustic, electronic, rock, indie, and even a bit of reggae thrown into the mix. This eclectic band is backed by four guys; Dax Young, who provides the main vocals, Stephen Helvig, who provides the guitar and vocal harmonies, David Kellogg, who is responsible for guitar and songwriting, and Jai Bowie, who contributes his bass talent.
“Levity” is the perfect opener to the album; it’s a song that will reel you in within the first chorus and will keep you anticipating what the rest of the album will have to offer. Love is without a doubt the central theme throughout the album, and you can see that from the very beginning. In this song, Young sings, “Some people call it God and some people call it life. If we just call it love then isn’t that enough to agree?” The idea of the song is similar to that of Ziggy Marley’s song “Love Is My Religion.” Perhaps the lyrics of “Levity” also help to explain the title of the album. “Levity is like gravity in love. Your heart rises above and it’s okay.” And the title of the album, in turn, has much to say about the songs throughout it. 9Tomorrow’s songs are nature oriented as well as relationship oriented.
While 9Tomorrows is from the states, some of the album’s songs have an island feel about them. “Let It Go” is one of those songs. It has a rich, soothing island sound that sounds like a cross between 311 and Jason Mraz. Serving as a farewell to all of the resentment caused by the ending of a relationship, it is one of those songs that will get you in a feel good mood no matter what your relationship status.
The electronic synth beats in songs like “Karma Too,” bring the album to a whole new level. When the beats first come into play in “Karma Too” it is quite unexpected, but after a few seconds you’ll decide that it fits perfectly into the song. The electronic sound mixed with the original indie pop sound of the band puts them in a sound category similar to that of The Postal Service, an electronic project fronted by Ben Gibbard, lead singer of Death Cab For Cutie.
One of the main aspects 9Tomorrows utilizes to create their sound is harmony. “Gentle And Sideways” is just one of the songs where they apply that feature. It is used subtly within the chorus so as not to come across as overpowering. Young sings, “I had to see, while the crystals melted off your warm, red face that you were still you.“ The latter “You” is where Helvig comes in with an accompanying harmony.
The music of “Halfway Around The World” is composed of little more than an acoustic guitar in order to emphasize not only Young’s vocal talent but also the song’s lyrics. The song fades out with the angelic-like sound of “ooooohhhhh” resonating in your ear.
There is not a single bad song on Gravity In Love album, which is quite an accomplishment, to say the least. Many times, you’ll find that an artist has written a handful of good songs that they want to release and decide to write some filler songs to go with them in order to have enough music for a full album. This is far from what 9Tomorrows has done, however. Each song has a sense of honesty and serenity about it, which is what really makes it stand out.
Review by Alec Cunningham
Rating: 5 stars (out of 5)