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Getting It Right

28 NOV 12 DAVID SHANNON

Every now and then a fledgling band releases an introductory album that sounds fully formed from the first track to the last, without any of the production hiccups, songwriting immaturity, or undeveloped musicianship that often mark first outings. The Dunwells' Blind Sighted Faith, on Concord Records (in Collaboration with Austin, Texas indie label Playing In Traffic), is such an album, an immaculately paced and cultivated record that beautifully fleshes out the easy harmony coursing among this Leeds, England-based quintet and deftly spans the gaps between roots music, indie, and pop.

Full of guitars both grand and subtle, and vocals that range from towering to grounded, the track list on Blind Sighted Faith could just as easily fill a stadium as entrance a dimly lit club. Songs like "Goodnight My City," "Hand That Feeds," "Dance With Me," and the title track are chart-ready, yet sufficiently unique to defy simple categorization, using timeless hooks that nonetheless veer from tradition into sheer originality. "Follow The Road," a cornucopia of guitar sounds, should satisfy the indie hipster and the hardcore tone hound alike, while the hushed vocals of "Only Me" and the heart-on-the-sleeve lyrics of "Elizabeth" will likely crumble even the most calcified anti-balladeers.

I wouldn't be surprised to hear favorable comparisons to modern acts like the Kings of Leon (minus much of the angst) and old folkies such as Guy Clark, although The Dunwells clearly forge their own sound on Blind Sighted Faith. For a first record, that alone speaks volumes about their enormous potential.