Ode to Joy, the latest album from Vancouver-based band the Nautical Miles, stays true to the folk genre with strong but soothing lyrics and acoustic guitar harmonies. The music is distinguished by indie-rock flair, achieved by adding energetic guitar and percussion sections to give a stronger sense of rhythm.
“Be Embraced, Ye Millions” opens the album as a traditional folk song, with strong emphasis on lively vocals, supported by steady yet rhythmic instrumentals. The addition of a chorus of backup vocals adds to the higher ranges of the song and a guitar solo halfway through the song adds a more modern-rock feeling to the otherwise wholly folk song. On the other end of the spectrum, “Love’s Little Sister” has a tremendous heavy-rock influence, starting off with a pronounced drum and bass line, which remains strong throughout. The lyrics are somewhat rushed giving a high-energy feeling, which engages the listener. “Summer Legs” has a softer feeling with hushed vocals and softer guitar harmonies, yet the fullness present in the other songs is not lost in spite of the muted nature of the song. The album closes out with “The Lost Generation” which has a more somber tone with passive vocals and soft instrumentals, but as the song continues it picks up in intensity, ending on a more vibrant note.
Ode to Joy expertly combines folk and rock influences into a coherent album. Creating a lively atmosphere in their music, the Nautical Miles have found an inventive new sound, with unique instrumental and vocal combinations that both folk and rock fans can enjoy.