Release the Sunbird: COME BACK TO US

Duet records are generally a mix of cheap love songs and tired ballads. Thankfully, Release the Sunbird have come to give the genre a fresh overhaul with their debut record, Come Back to Us. Led by the Bay Area’s Zach Rogue of Rogue Wave fame, his latest project brims with charming melodies and soothing vocal harmonies. The album has a way of feeling natural as opposed to being swamped from massive Pro Tools editing. Rogue has stated that he wanted the album to feel pure, deciding to go for a simpler sound that allowed the vocals to shine.

This approach proves successful, as the euphony created by Rogue and guest vocalist Kate Long are infectiously sweet to say the least. The duo seem to blend well together, their vocals creating a comforting current running through an acoustic stream. While the album contains some upbeat, feel-good tunes, it’s the more solemn tracks like “Why Can’t You Look At Yourself” that best highlight Rogue and Long’s unifying voices — the backing instruments temporarily lowered to accent the duo’s soulful crooning.

Although the band does the duet genre justice, they can’t fully escape the cliches that follow this style of mushy music. The rhythms and chord progressions found throughout most of the album can become repetitive after a couple of listens. It seems at times that the group constrains themselves too much within the walls of the genre, rather than exploring beyond the usual expectations. It’s also hard to not be a little corny. Track titles like “Come Back to Us” and “Everytime You Go” speak for themselves with sappy longings of peace and lost love. However, Release the Sunbird have still created a worthwhile album, rebirthing duet records from their played-out ashes.