Heirlooms bid farewell with first studio LP, 'Everyone a Diver'

After releasing an EP in 2010 and a live album last year, Hartford band Heirlooms returns this month with “Everyone a Diver,” the band’s first studio LP. It’s also the band’s last studio LP. While that’s understandable — leader Jesse Stanford is busy in Modern Merchant, guitarist Tom Servidone has his Belle Mare project and violinist Ciara Picard Cohen just had a baby — it’s also deeply disappointing to lose a group with as much promise as Heirlooms has shown so far. Fortunately, they make this lone studio LP count.

“Everyone a Diver” is a deep record, full of lush, textured songs and a downhearted beauty perfectly tailored to the fading light of a late autumn afternoon. The band surrounds Stanford’s aching voice with swirls of music that rise and fall in gentle arcs. Slippery slide guitar pairs with mournful violin on “Lesser Sparrow,” Stanford sends his voice soaring over snarls of reverberating electric guitar on “I’ll Show You” and eddies of saxophone lead into “Sylvia” before violin, piano and guitar pick it up, hovering over a steady, measured bassline. Stanford sings with tender, wistful anguish on “The Clearing” as the song builds slowly beneath him, and he murmurs in falsetto, as if to himself, on “Patiently,” under a strong acoustic guitar line covered over with layers of keyboards.

The album closes with “Wine Dark Sea,” a yearning song that seems, in its way, to assess choices made and paths not taken, accompanied by a stormy blend of guitars and keyboards interspersed with free-floating horns. Whether the band meant it this way or not, the song also serves as a farewell, and as the music fades at the end, we can only be thankful that Heirlooms chose this path, as brief as it was.

— Eric R. Danton

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