Design By Humans
Published On: Fri, Feb 13th, 2015

CommonUnion59: Heartbeat Serenade

Heartbeat Serenade

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Tom tom chunker, countrified popper “It’s Alright” opens Heartbeat Serenade from folk singer-songwriter duo CommonUnion59. Steve McKenzie and Laura Malasig from San Francisco man mainly acoustic instruments here and with help from drummer Kevin Hayes and simply perfect bassist Jake Leckie create a nice 10-song collection. The second tune, “American Dream,” with its lush imagery of lyrics hit me even better and the ballad of acoustic guitar and simple lead lines under Malasig’s honest vocals on “The River Song” is just beautiful. The duo have this mix of folk and country down rather well. I like when the band stays close to simple acoustic guitars, easy bass and banjo and Malasig’s singing story lyrics, as they do in the perfect Dolly Parton-like “Little White House,” but “Today” got me also with its slinky vibe and McKenzie taking lead vocals and once again Hayes and Leckie creating an easy lock-in bass/drum bed. Here we also get some nice piano in the mix.

That piano makes a return as the lead instrument on “Not Dead Inside.” Once again, Malasig’s expressive voice lifts us, this time into angelic territory, with McKenzie’s backing harmony and electric guitar playing simple and sweet blues on a tune that really doesn’t offer much of a lyric, but still quite the punch in its plodding. “This Universe” ends the record. It’s a collection of layered guitars and Malasig offering her sweet vocals about ethereal forms and concepts. Heartbeat Serenade from CommonUnion59 is a solid collection of well-written, played, and sung acoustic tunes.


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CommonUnion59: Heartbeat Serenade