All Photos: Sandisz Thieme for DenverThread
Above all, it was Sara Slaton’s voice, softly, confidently thundering over Dustin Morris and Maxwell Hughes’ strings, sticks, horns, and skins that left an indelible mark on the Bluebird audience Sunday night. It’s undoubtedly this layered canyon wall of sound that’s leaving that same mark on Denver’s continually exploding scene.
Particularly poignant was their version of “Open Road,” an upbeat, traveling tune that Slaton called “… a love song for our van.” Maybe among the most of the folky tunes of the night. this one recalled a sort of Edward Sharpe vibe, just bigger and less hippy. When Edison broke out on the Denver scene, Slaton’s vocals and Morris’s multi-instrumentalism more than hinted at a huge thing – equally echoing the intimate bedroom of Bon Iver or Iron & Wine. The addition of Maxwell Hughes’ (formerly part of Denver’s Lumineers) strong symphonic skills and brilliant guitar work pushes Edison near the often heady and atmospheric realms of shoegaze, and grounds their folk sound with just a soupcon of The Head and the Heart as they easily – and masterfully – grasp a noisier Fleetwood Mac.
The highlight of their set was definitely the war cry “Civil War,” showing Slaton’s fierce passionate voice and the bombastic rhythms of her bandmates, attempting to grasp her from the maelstrom of a changing relationship, in the midst of a changing life. The audience screamed the chorus along with Slaton again, and again, and again – adding to the spiritual fracas.
While it’s certainly no surprise to see yet another strong trio come out of Denver’s collaborative scene, Edison promises to be one of the biggest in a little while, it seems. And with bands like Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats in that pedigree, that’s saying no small thing. Edison’s sound is huge, new, exciting – folky, yet concrete; whimsical, yet eons deep (mostly due to Slater’s haunting and full vocals). Ready to add another notch to Denver’s musical belt?