The People have been a band for a little over 2 years now, making music centered around folk, rock and jazzy sounds (often including a stomp & clap portion). Lead vocalist Alexa Barchini has a gruff yet rich tone to her voice that makes you want to listen closely to her lyrics. Barchini’s vocals are only enriched by her talented bandmates: Dan Hanrahan on lead guitar, Charles Lane on rhythm guitar/vocals, Mark Przybylowski on bass and Gabriel Globus-Hoenich on drums.
Their newest single, “Vega” is filled with meaning. The inspiration for the title comes from the purpose the star Vega holds within the constellation, Lyra. It is the brightest star in Lyra, and completes the constellation by drawing attention to it. According to Lane:
It’s about not seeing yourself as an empty vessel to be filled by a significant, but rather seeing yourself as a unique individual that a significant other can contribute to, embrace and support.
The beginning of the song actually sounds like stars twinkling in the sky. It slips into a dreamy melody up until 1:35 when they introduce a striking rock & roll chord. From there, “Vega” really morphs into pop/rock & roll track as if the twinkling star was really a shooting star flying through the constellation.
The People are a band that you can’t stylistically pigeonhole. Their ability to go from playing Sufjan Stevens covers to stomp & clap folk anthems showcases their musical interests and dexterity. They are a band dedicated to making music that engages their audience – not to mention that they like to have fun on stage either.
It is dark; Pitch black. Nothing can be seen or heard. Suddenly a chorus of clapping bursts out into the airwaves. It intensifies in loudness and slowly becomes more directed in its purpose. And then the guitar comes in. “Sparrow Mountain” by The People, has a very interesting way of captivating its listener from the start. I personally was mesmerized by the initial percussive clapping alone; it is akin to witnessing sparks ignite, but rather than putting out the ensuing fire, one sits entranced, choosing instead to watch the flames grow. It is an optimally creative and effective way to begin a song, as it beckons its audience in to hear more.
The band itself is as eclectic and compelling as the tunes they make, the distinct southern undertones in which lend to them richness and dimension that feels transportive, as if I am watching them live somewhere tucked in the folds of New Orleans. Performing barefooted, and always with smiles spread wide, they seem incredibly down to earth, with humility oozing from their pores. This all makes perfect sense, as they are clearly focused on using their music to bring people together from all creative and sociocultural stripes. During The People’s live shows their unique brand of folk-rock underpinned by jazz roots comes to life. Among one another and with the audience, they are very friendly and interactive, inspiring dancing, sing-a-longs and the like. Watching videos of the above described milieu makes listening to this new single an even more enjoyable experience.
On this track, the sweet and simple nature of Vocalist Samantha Rise-Roberson’s voice comes out with gusto, and stuns throughout. When her male counterpart comes in however, it leaves one hoping for a two part harmony only to be mildly disappointed, as they end up singing in octaves for most the song (although when the two do indeed diverge, the resulting harmony is exhilarating). Regardless, the music video clearly communicates the fact that while performing they all have a total blast with one another. The song itself– passionate without being aggressive is a very honest portrayal of someone’s feelings regarding an old flame. With lines like: “I’d like to believe in what they call second chances // but I wouldn’t dare to give me one,” it shoots straight to the point like an arrow, which I appreciate as well as respect. Musically, all members are talented, their voices soft and subtle, yet powerful in equal stride. A few separate times in the song I even found myself getting lost in the guitar melodies.
The People are amazing story tellers who draw their listeners in, leaving them with no choice but to hang onto their every word. While they are a relatively new band founded in 2012, there is no doubt in my mind that they will have an easy time generating an enormous fan base. Watch the new video for the beautiful “Sparrow Mountain” here, and let it take you away. At the end, you’ll feel good, and want more.