Cape Snow is a collaboration between Los Angeles-based singer Bree Scanlon, drummer husband Sean and Dylan Metrano, Guy Capecelatro III and Marc McElroy of New England-based outfit Tiger Saw. The first thing that strikes is how much Scanlon sounds like a hybrid of Margo Timmins from the Cowboy Junkies and Mazzy Star’s Hope Sandoval. It’s a comparison underscored by the band’s laid back, late night widescreen styling, a sultry, languid folk-blues groove that’s perfectly encapsulated in the title of one of the songs, Swoon. Save for Dan Sullivan’s guitar work at the end of Never Let Go (and even that is fairly blessed), nothing here breaks a sweat, preferring instead to curl around the senses, an approach established from cello-stroked opening cut All Is Gold with its slow, steady beat and organ pulses as Scanlon sings “Our bodies weightless, naked against the tide, I could forever float here by your side”. It makes you want to head straight for the ocean.
She does a good line in emotional desolation too on the slow waltzing One More Time where, accompanied by Andy Abelow’s flute-like saxophone, she says “I’d do most anything to say hello, one more time.” Indeed, love is clearly the highest state to which one can aspire or can give, Flesh and Blood clearly rating the secular over the sacred in the opening line “nobody’s god will love you like I do, their love’s a whisper unworthy of you”, going on to add “I’m in this world standing right here, while your so-called savior stands by, idle and bored somewhere in the sky.”
Love, of course, blows hot and cold, and, as deftly summarised by the jazzy, fingersnapping 48 seconds of Cruel World, you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. For every headlong plunge into commitment, there’s a dozen anxious hesitations and bruised rejections. Scanlon and the band do a languorously lovely line in both on I’m Over Love (“I’ve had my fill, keep your kisses, I don’t want the thrill”) and the brass burnished torch of Amazing (“Am I crazy I get so caught up, ‘cause you’re amazing but I can’t trust it In the glow of now”). However, on the early hours mood of Never Let Go, she’s also ready to take the risks (“Don’t underestimate, embers left unattended, nothing is lost, just don’t believe, in lingering doubt, set it afire”) while the soaring starry-eyed Swoon declares that “living is reaching…So while you’re out in the sky, why don’t you reach for me?”
Certainly, it may be a one note affair in terms of subject matter although, featuring Mara Flynn on harmonies, the gorgeous, tinkling Sweet Dreams, is a hymn to the freedom of taking to the sea and following the wind. It’s an affair to be swept away in, like giddy hearts.
Review by: Mike Davies
Release Date: July 31, 2015 via Burst & Bloom