Boston-based duo Tall Heights released its latest record “Neptune” in August, and I finally got around to listening to it.
It was sure worth the wait because Tim Harrington (vocals, guitar) and Paul Wright (vocals, cello) have made a gorgeous progressive-folk record that’s been on repeat in my ears for the past week.
Their previous releases are the EPs “Holding On, Holding Out” and “Rafters” and the full-length “Man of Stone,” which I’ve made a note to visit soon. For now, however, I’m in full swoon mode over “Neptune,” and my love for the album starts with the opening track “Iron in the Fire.” It’s dreamy, orchestral and the vocals of Harrington and Wright together are delicately sublime in a way that makes you want to stop the world for a few minutes and just listen.
Take a listen to “Iron in the Fire”
The reverie continues with “Spirit Cold.”
“Let me down easy/Let me down slow/If all good things ever come and go/Let me back down in a place I know.”
Then a groundswell of percussion comes in and the song gets even better.
Here’s “Spirit Cold”
“River Wider” is another bright star on “Neptune” with Wright’s magical cello and vocals that start here on earth then reach up to the clouds.
“No Man Alive” is a mesmerizing love, or at least a “like you a lot” song. “The way you were looking that evening when you showed me out to your door/I felt like we’d both been caught stealing.”
“Neptune” is the kind of record that isn’t interested in hitting you over the head but rather invites you to sit with it and get to know it. It wants to wrap its arms gently around you while telling you stories and secrets that will make your ears smile and your heart kick out a few other beats.
“Infrared” is a hypnotic song that might actually be set in outer space. It’s hard to say exactly but, regardless of what the song is actually about, it’s resplendent and shimmers with vocal excellence.
“Cross My Mind” is my favorite track from “Neptune” at the moment. “When I am surrounded I find myself receding” is but one of many elegiac lines. The song is heavy on the vocals with a thin veil of guitar, bass, synths and piano over it.
Here’s the incredible “Cross My Mind”
I’ve never seen Tall Heights live before and am going to make every effort to make this show, because if the songs are this good on the album, I imagine the live show will be downright transcendent. Also, Empire’s a pretty small room, and there’s nothing like an intimate space to hear intimate songs. Massachusetts country-folk quintet The Novel Ideas opens the show.
9:30 p.m. Saturday. Empire, 575 Congress St., Portland, $12, 21-plus. portlandempire.com