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Album: Head Above Tide

Artist: Jason Vitelli

Genre(s): Art Rock, Cinematic Rock

Head Above Tide is an ambitious album that blends dramatic arrangements, folk sentiment and audiophile production values. According to Jason, the songs coalesce around the idea of facing adversity and overcoming obstacles.

Track Rating
1.   Hit and Run ★★★½☆
2.   Fault Lines ★★★½☆
3.   The Persecuted ★★★½☆
4.   (descension) ★★★½☆
5.   Labyrinthine ★★★★☆
6.   Living Proof ★★★½☆
7.   D-Day ★★★☆☆
8.   Welcome to My Life, Healing ★★★½☆
9. (ascension) ★★★½☆
10. Trees ★★★☆☆
11. Pinwheel ★★★☆☆
12. Autumn Hymn  ★★★½☆
13. Propagate ★★★½☆
14. Vacant ★★★☆☆
15. Three Marionettes ★★★½☆
16. A Mutiny ★★★★☆

1. Hit and Run

A grandiose intro sets you up for a piece that’s dramatic and full. Musically and poetically rich, the metaphors in this song hit hard.

2. Fault Lines

Fault Lines begins on a way more laidback feel, and gains momentum into the song. With swooshing string arrangements, lines like “Don’t lose yourself to drama, don’t lose yourself to me” set the tone of the song.

3. The Persecuted

Opening dreamily, this track goes on to reference the New York State Supreme Court validating marriage equality. With arrangements to die for, it talks about how persecuted people have found ways to overcome their struggle.

4. (descension)

An intriguing piece of music, this short number with conga beats will work well with visuals.

5. Labyrinthine

This rock number with its swelling string section, chilling harmonies, and bustling bass evokes the protagonist in the William Styron novel Sophie’s Choice. Dark and gritty, the lines go on about her certain oblivion.

6. Living Proof

Another dramatic track, Living Proof is about how life comes to an end, and dares to ask what happens if you are completely forgotten.

7. D-Day

Starting off as as acoustic number, D-Day wanders into familiar territory, but has a beautiful guitar solo. This track is about obstacles and their resolution.

8. Welcome to My Life, Healing

Starting on a groovy note, this number has touches of reggae, and is in stark contrast with the other tracks. A welcome entry at this juncture, it’s a breath of fresh air.

9. (ascension)

Another mysterious piece of  piano instrumental, (ascension) has a moody aura to it.

10. Trees

Trees has a pop-rock feel to it, with a solid riff. The song goes a little off in some places, but veers right back to where it started.

11. Pinwheel

Pinwheel has influences of folk, and is almost reminiscent of an old country number re-imagined.

12. Autumn Hymn

Autumn Hymn is interesting, with the saxophone adding a fresh vibe to it.  Jason echoes the sound of a marching band disappearing into the dusk — a metaphor to mirror the passing parade of life.

13. Propagate

Starting with samba influences, Propagate moves into rock and shifts effortlessly between the two.

14. Vacant

Vacant is a jazz-swing number that molds itself into rock. Bearing a sombre aura, this one’s pretty emotional with some some scatting thrown along.

15. Three Marionettes

Three Marionettes portrays the hardships endured by child refugees in the Second Sudanese Civil War, with their oppression being a symbol of the boundlessness of human cruelty. The choruses add polish to this song.

16. A Mutiny

A Mutiny is a number that would befit a musical — emotive, flourishing, and civilian. The last track works as a response to a call that the album raised.

Verdict: Musically rich and lyrically poetic, Head Above Tide is a delight for audiophiles and purists.

Picks of the album: Labyrinthine, A Mutiny

Overall Rating: ★★★★★★★☆☆☆