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The Daily Tar Heel

Music Review: Butterflies

Butter?ies take ?ight on ‘Residual Child’

	Butterflies, signed to Chapel Hill label Trekky Records, will release “Residual Child” this Saturday at Cat’s Cradle, supported by fellow local heavyweights The Strugglers, Erie Choir, Cassis Orange and Wes Phillips. Courtesy of Trekky Records/Butterflies.

Butterflies, signed to Chapel Hill label Trekky Records, will release “Residual Child” this Saturday at Cat’s Cradle, supported by fellow local heavyweights The Strugglers, Erie Choir, Cassis Orange and Wes Phillips. Courtesy of Trekky Records/Butterflies.

The biggest difference you notice about Butterflies’ Residual Child is how much of a stark contrast it is to bands like Arcade Fire and The National, which explore the painstakingly boring routines of everyday life —a Pitchfork review labeled The National’s brand of music as ‘sad bastard melodrama’.

Butterflies, meanwhile, are reveling in the simplicity of such procedures. To the Chapel Hill band, simple doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice for beauty and charm.

For the group’s second album, vocalist Josh Kimbrough, bassist Ross Connolly and drummer TJ Maiani added their producer Patrick Jones to the lineup to man the keyboard and synthesizers.

Friends (or maybe more) catching up over lunch, inability to communicate feelings and the search to live a meaningful life are some of the topics of choice for the local bunch, set to a shimmering, summery blend of clear and warbling electric guitar, synths and drums.

Even though the themes might be serious, for the most part the band’s sound is so upbeat and hopeful that you can’t be brought down. Butterflies make you feel as much levity as its name suggests.

It’s a double-edged sword, however, and by the end of the album it seems that Butterflies are toeing a fine line between boyish charm and innocence and sheer naiveté.

Even though the more rock-heavy “Forklift” discusses troubles with a past lover as “kid games” and hopes for an older, wiser relationship, it still doesn’t feel all that serious.

After all, how much luck can you have with a love song like “Canteen,” with a chorus of “I wanna dry your boots/I wanna load your weapons/ I wanna fill your canteen” ?

What, then, to make of “Sleepless?” Sandwiched quietly in the middle of the record, it falls into the handful of radio-friendly songs Residual Child has (along with “Guitarist” and “Goodbye (Like a Stranger)”), but it’s nothing like the rest of the album. The bubbly pop-rock is gone, replaced with a slow, mournful electric guitar and strings.

As Kimbrough, all earnestness gone, sings, “Your mind wakes up to be sure you remember you’ve abandoned all your goals,” it seems that perhaps Butterflies isn’t a stranger to misery after all.

Just when it seemed this gang of guys knew next to nothing about life and its complications, Butterflies pulls out a song that shows just how wide the band’s reach can be.

“Sleepless” is only a taste of the heavy material Butterflies can provide, and it doesn’t detract from the overall mood of the album. But Butterflies do morose so well, instead of focusing on the rest of the album, it only leaves you craving more.

It’s a solidly crafted pop album, but the knowledge of the band’s ability to create deeper material keeps you from being completely invested and satisfied with the record as a whole. Let’s hope that next time, Butterflies won’t hesitate to fly into darker territory.

Contact the Diversions Editor at dive@unc.edu.

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