The Poke Around have always been fans of North Carolina indie folk band Mipso, and so we were immediately excited to find out that founding member Libby Rodenbough was releasing her debut solo album this spring. The singer-songwriter officially released the debut, called Spectacle of Love, on May 29 via Sleepy Cat Records, and you can find it on all the major music streaming platforms. Below this article, you can stream a sample track from the album via Libby Rodenbough’s official YouTube page.
Across her debut record, Rodenbough employs her multi-instrumental abilities, from clarinet to violin to guitar, and matches it with orchestral arrangements, vocal harmonies, and more. The result is an incredibly well-rounded and repeatedly satisfying listen that blends modern folk with the sounds and grooves of old school soul, indie, and pop. On a lyrical level, Spectacle of Love seems to be a rather somber inspection of relationships, with stretches of heartache occasionally lifted by moments of playfulness and hope. Also making use of stingingly clever writing (“it’s not an accident you made for seven years…”), the mix makes for an emotional intoxication that’s matched in the music.
Like we’ve done in the past, here is a track-by-track run through of Spectacle of Love, featuring our thoughts on each of the album’s songs.
Favorite Tracks: “Tell Me How,” “You Like It Here,” “The Other Side”
“Why Do You Call Me”
Soulful yet upbeat, this is a good kick off track because it encapsulates the colorfulness of the rest of the record. Even next to the great music happening here, Rodenbough’s vocals are still the most enticing part.
It’s cool that the clarinet makes appearances in the record’s first few tracks, because its sultry sound just adds the perfect touch to the music.
Intriguing chord changes sneak up in multiples places on the album, starting with this one. There’s also nice use of string arrangements that will again be untitled further on.
“Tell Me How”
One of the few tracks that contrasts from the the rest of the record’s groove, and in a really nice way at that. Soft and sullen but boasting an epic melody, this song is just downright beautiful.
“Under the U – Bahn”
The album takes an instrumental interlude, and the low string sounds coming in half way through the song make it really shine.
A song that we might expect to hear upon stumbling upon a fairy wedding deep in the forest. This one continues from the previous track in making the low end a star.
“Colors” was released as one of the first singles from the album, and we can hear why. The Bowie-esque backup vocals behind the infectious beat on this one are just so perfect.
“What Do You Mean”
Perhaps the most Mipso-esque track on the record, “What Do You Mean” rings of that mountain-fresh, gospel-tinged sound.
The combo of surf guitar and cool drum work on this one makes it sound like it could’ve been written by M. Ward.
“You Like it Here”
This track has a little bit of all the musical goodies that makes this whole album so enchanting. The brief swelling of the music on each chorus might be the sweetest moment on this record, and that’s saying something.
“String Me On The Line”
A bare bones track with just Libby and the guitar would have been neat, too. But again, the string arrangement buffs the song nicely, this time in a more classic, Simon & Garfunkel kind of way.
You have spiders on the walls of your kitchen? I’d get that looked at. Even more new instrumental moves, like a nice piano melody, join the compositional tapestry of the album with a sense of subtlety.
“The Other side”
One part soul, one part desert rock a la Houndmouth or Futurebirds. The screeching guitar solo 3/4 of the way in is the gem you realize this great song was waiting for.
Stream a sample track from Spectacle of Love below, and for more information, head to Libby Rodenbough’s official FaceBook page here.