Label: Own Records Release date: 03/03/10 Website: Myspace Upon listening to Gathered Tones, the three piece from Ohio appear to be the sort of band that would suit wandering around a field somewhere in the sunshine, with their bitter sweet lyrics and understated, crackling electronica. Album opening ‘Ascending Kidney’ is drowsy and dreamy with soft, lolling guitar lines that wouldn’t sound out of place on an obscure album from the 60s. The lyrics throughout 'Gathered Tones' are clever and enjoyable, especially in the second song of the album, ‘Past The New Parking Deck’. They often contrast with the sugary, lazy haze of sound. “They’re selling crack” sweetly proclaims singer Linda Lejsovka over the airy, dreamy hum. Despite the wall of hazy noise throughout, Gathered Tones sounds surprisingly clear cut with definable, well crafted melodies alongside clicking and twinkling sound effects that make for a very satisfying listen. Some of the tracks are perhaps too short, especially in the case of one of the highlights, ‘From Colfax Place’. The lyrics ride wonderfully upon the back of well crafted pop melodies, and as with the whole album, everything is fixed upon a whimsical ambient backdrop. Gathered Tones is a collection of DIY sound effects, boy/girl vocals and beautiful ambient drones. At times, the constant ambient background noise does make songs seem similar, perhaps overly so at times. Luckily, there’s more than enough intrigue and changes within the record to keep interest. “Mike thinks it's both the strangest sounding and popiest thing we've done” state the band via their MySpace blog and they may well be right. Album closer ‘Houseplants’ is another lazy ambient affair, almost coming full circle to the opening of the album. Gathered Tones is well ordered, each track flowing into another with little upheaval, making the record seem like a continual journey. It sounds decidedly homemade and that’s definitely not a bad thing; Gathered Tones is as though Trouble Books have decided to experiment and we’re lucky enough to be part of it. The songs seem to focus upon love, not heartbreak. Whether that is in the form of an established relationship, or perhaps teenage love changes throughout the record. Although the songs are filled with sunshine and dreamy sounds, there’s a tide of sadness running underneath all the ambient glare. Despite the fact these songs may not appear to be particularly memorable, the honesty of them stays with you long after the glare has died out. Photobucket