Held in Splendor - MEXICAN SUMMER
FILTER Grade: 75%
By Christian Koons on February 13, 2014
Held in Splendor is not an album with clear highs and lows. There are no obvious standout songs around which the others were hobbled together. Rather, it is a rounded, interconnected cohesion of atmospheric Americana. Founding members Shane Butler and Anna Rochinski, who met in art school, constructed the album as a continuous dream, one characterized by patient, long form instrumental jams ("Mary Mountain"), cascading guy-and-girl folk harmonies ("Eye of the Pearl") and engrossing Dark Side of the Moon guitar work ("Saturday Bride"). But since Held in Splendor takes its time, the listener must also be willing to do so. Some may tire toward the middle of the record, and if they find themselves impervious to the charm of numerous tempo and time signature changes, Splendor may start to feel like a static trance. Out-and-out rockers “A Mirror” and “Tired & Buttered” provide some much-needed lucidity, but as a whole, Held in Splendor may be a bit too tranquil for its own good.