“In the cracks there’s beauty,” sings Vance Kotrla, and taken in context with the rest of Sci-Fi Romance‘s latest album that’s quite the apt statement. This band isn’t the most fine-tuned machine you’ll ever hear. But this is honest folk-pop music in its rawest glory, and there’s a lot to be said for being willing to present the music in this version rather than polish away everything interesting in a studio setting.
I’ve been following this band since their last album, And Surrender My Body To The Flames, and their upcoming album The Ghost of John Henry continues to push the envelope creatively. The musicians fight to keep up with the concept, and at times the individual songs, divorced from the remainder of the album, don’t have the same impact as they have when heard as a complete song cycle.
Still, even if Sci-Fi Romance falls short of giving John Henry’s legend a deep emotional core through folk music, at least they’re out there swinging that hammer for all its worth. When John Henry beat the steam-drill it killed him. They’ll be around for another go, and there’s plenty to be glad for about that.