Album review: Promised Land Sound, ‘For Use and Delight’ emotionally stirring

Promised Land Sound album cover“For Use and Delight” by Nashville’s Promised Land Sound is as intentionally crafted any album that you are going to hear today.

With just a quick run through of the album, it’s clear the band is capable of delivering emotionally stirring songs with tender songwriting and humble tones of JJ Cale, Dr. Dog, Grateful Dead and Explosions In the Sky. The core members of Joe Scala on bass and lead vocals, his brother Evan Scala on drums and vocals and Sean Thompson on guitar. Occasional vocals are bolstered on “For Use and Delight” with contributions from Peter Stringer-Hye of The Paperhead on additional vocals and rhythm guitar and keyboardist Mitch Jones from Fly Golden Eagle. Together they make wonderfully beautiful music that falls somewhere between the warm sunset on the horizon and the cool red soil of the earth.

Gleaming guitars, supple organ and piano and a determined rhythm section are the tools the band uses to craft its kinetic soundscapes. “Push and Pull (All the Time)” invigorates the soul as it sweeps from pastoral guitars into a tumble of drums through the canyons. The band members do not dictate the song’s course, willing to see what kinds of places their minds and fingers will go if they let them. The roaring boogie of “Golden Child” falls into a small psychedelic rabbit hole, before getting itself back out again, while the acoustic instrumental “Dialogue” finds a crisp melody to pull and tease.

These are vulnerable songs, susceptible to the moods like an emotional weather vane. The forlorn “She Takes Me There” strolls at a melancholy pace, pondering “where could she be?/ she’s over me.” The infinite sadness of it all finally erupts in a frustrated guitar solo that burns all the shreds of heartbreak with bitter disdain; a memento destroyed in fit of anger.

The richness of the album is in the thoughtful details that enhance an already remarkable piece of work. Little details that can give a song clarity or depth: the last blissful waves of guitar that linger in “Canfield Road;” strings sections adding a touch of elegance on “Northern Country Scene;” the subtle keyboards on “Through The Seasons” accenting the helixing guitars with textured grace. The band members took their time to grow these gorgeous environments organically and they wanted you to feel every flicker of a burning heart and meditate in the cool open fields of self-reflection.

God is in the details and in the sacred lives of the tiny alcoves of peace you nestle in throughout “For Use and Delight.”

  • Promised Land Sound
    “For Use and Delight”
    Release: Oct. 9, 2015
    Notable Tracks: “Through The Season,” “Push and Pull (All the Time),” “She Takes Me There”

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