Words // Scott Pingeton
I think you're gonna dig this one, so listen up. Kalispell is the work of Shane Leonard, and it brims with the earnestness you may have come to expect from fellow Eau Claire Wisconsin locals Justin Vernon, S. Carey and Chris Porterfield. Westbound is a gorgeous and deeply personal record, perhaps influenced at least in part by the circumstances around Leonard's move from Massachusetts to Wisconsin. I think Kalispell's bandcamp page paints a better picture than I could:
It's like when good friends gather, perhaps around a fire in someone's backyard as the night settles or on the front stoop of your house, cigarette in hand—the setting doesn't matter. It's about the moment after the laughter quiets and the tone shifts, when you venture to say what's been heavy on the mind, so near the tongue, so hard to admit:
How you've grown impatient with the "state of summer's same."
How you feel alone with the person who should know you best.
How "there was no devotion / in our frozen poses."
How you said yes when you meant no.
Intimate confessions set to folk music is nothing unique, but I think Kalispell does it particularly well - combining confident lyrics with intricate, textured compositions. From the clawhammer banjo on "Methodist Lift" to "Marion, MT", a folk-dirge that recalls The Low Anthem, to "Lucky A Hundred Times", a gently rolling highlight, the album covers enough sonic ground to hold the listeners interest throughout. It's a great listen - highly recommended.
Kalispell was at the Middle East in Cambridge last week -- my timing sucks. Shout if you were there!