See the billowing smoke in that faraway clearing? Down below Jill and Haven Lamoureux are stoking the flame. Their Los Angeles-based band, wing and hollow, is trapped in the dense wilderness of criminally neglected Indie Rock. Signal Fire, their third EP, may change that.
The EP opens with Cage a Bird, which was recorded at Canyon Hut Recording Studio, the former home of Alice Cooper. In a slow, brooding tone Jill lures the listener in: “Free the bird just to shoot him down.” It’s an easy kill for the seductress who, at times, sounds like Lana Del Rey stripped of hipster pretension. Her silky vocals pour over the instrumental like pure maple syrup from the woods of New Hampshire, wherefrom her ax-man hubby hails.
Next up is the triumphant Signal Fire. At the onset Jill boasts, “We can’t go back / we’ve come too far.” It seems, in part, an affirmation of the duo’s musical progression since their first EP, Frozen Trees, which didn’t reach for such exhilarating heights. Haven strums his guitar alongside a slew of instruments—including a shaker tambourine—to create a lush, vernal atmosphere. The title track is a first-rate demonstration of the duo’s maturing sound.
“If I make it to the morning I’ll be clean / losing faith and burning gasoline” says the chorus of the third track, Highway. Purification by way of flight seems to be the narrative. Later, as the instrumental swells, Jill croons “Ooh, I’m in too deep this time,” acknowledging the futility of physical escape. At its height, another fated relationship is thriving: the one between artist and listener.
The final song, Follow Me Back Home, is a standout. When Jill, in a near whisper, repeats “Do what you will” it conjures up images of darkened Midwestern landscapes populated by cornfields, Greyhound buses, ramshackle houses, and watering holes with sawdust floors. It is an ode to her Wichita roots, a sweeping birdsong about getting beyond hurt to return to love. The wounded lover’s cry is a ubiquitous theme on the record, but it comes through strongest and clearest on this track. Haven’s guitar chords are simple and complimentary in nature, giving the bittersweet lyrics the space they require to leave you lost in the dream. “Follow Me Back Home” is an aching plea, and perhaps their finest achievement to date.
Smoke hangs above the tree line to obscure a sinking sun. There is little for Jill and Haven to do now but hold onto one another and wait. Label execs, A & Rs, talent scouts, keep your consciences clear. Assemble a search and rescue team. Triangulate their coordinates. Give wing and hollow the shot they have earned through hard work and survival instinct. -Matt Costello