Spotlight: Ravens + Chimes Charm and Intrigue

NYC band is loved by Leonard Cohen for their unique cover of "So Long Marianne"

By , Columnist

How can you not appreciate a band that kicks away the musical boundary lines that are conventionally laid out for most?  Certainly it doesn’t happen much.  But when it does, it usually gains some attention, especially if the band has a solid musical style.  A band, Ravens + Chimes, caught some attention with their cover of Leonard Cohen’s perfect “So Long, Marianne,” embellishing it with a sprightly twist that changes the tune a bit without mocking it or ruining it.

Ravens + Chimes are from New York City (so what else is new?).  With a released debut album from as far back as 2007, the band has drawn comparisons to Arcade Fire from almost every quarter.  Certainly they employ that unique NYC attitude of “I don’t give a f*ck if you like it or not, I’m doin’ it my way.” Just as well. It’s a boring day when something doesn’t challenge your listening the way that Ravens + Chimes do.


On Reichenbach Falls (2007), the band provides an arty spread of music.  From the sad confines of change understood on “Eleventh Street”, to the soundtrack-like “…and I Came Upon It In the Clearing”, this band has put together a superb mix of tracks.

The album begins with “This Is Where We Are,” which goes a long way toward catching your attention.  Following the opener, the second song, “January” throws the anchor out to keep you in place.  If you’re still there, the remaining tracks should endear you. 

The album only sold a few thousand copies making it difficult to move forward with vision.  It wasn’t until a few years later that the band recorded three songs for an EP, Carousel.  Released in March of 2011, the EP re-established the band’s intent to continue on.  The songs are softer, more introspective along the lines of “Eleventh Street” but also show a growth.

Currently, Ravens + Chimes are planning on the release of their new album, Holiday Life at some point in 2011.  With the depth of their magnificent debut, and the promise of Carousel, Holiday Life should take the band into better territories.  Once the fans develop - and they should - Ravens + Chimes should have all of the indie world excited about them.

Go ahead. Think The Feelies. Think Talking Heads. Even think Arcade Fire. The real thing is that you’re getting a bit of all of these bands wrapped tightly within the musical and lyrical core of Ravens + Chimes.  If your friends are all about any of these bands, then be cooler then they.  Tell them about Ravens + Chimes.  

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Matt Rowe began his life with an AM radio, listening to anything that was considered music. Since, he has labored intently to build a collection of music, paring it down, rebuilding, and refining as he sees fit. His decided goal is to keep up with new music by panning for the nuggets among literal mountains…

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