Hey Marseilles is a folk band from the music mecca of Seattle, best known for their widespread use of strings and accordions as well as many other instruments uncommon to your typical band. The ability to tell a story in their songs that can be both vague and specific to its listener at the same time is a very telling trait to their musicianship and especially lyricism. They are not afraid to push the limits of sincerity with their lyrics and it is only enhanced with the strings they play in the majority of their songs.
Aside from a small EP, we have not heard from the boys in Hey Marseilles in a while and this song is the perfect one for their reentry to the scene. “Bright Stars Burning” combines their trademark melodies and lyrical structure, but you can’t help but think it is brand new. Strings, like in many of their songs, take a front seat as well as the warm vocals of Matt Bishop, whose diction is very Ben Gibbard-esque. The only things that are missing are some accordions and a touch of pedal steel guitar and this song might be perfect in my eyes, but by now you know I am a sucker for those instruments, especially the latter. HM is very good at keeping the perfect amount of information in a song – that is to say, you aren’t experiencing sonic overload from either the instruments or vocals. Melodies course throughout the song, alternating between strings and guitar, and the rhythm is there when it needs to be.
The only gripe I have with the song is the breakdown; it seems too much like a dead space that was not quite filled up right directly after the breakdown ran its course. It picks up after a small lull and ends rather abruptly. It just seems like too much of a stretch from the rest of the song, since it is so eloquently blended together the rest of the way through.
With that said, Hey Marseilles earned my ears again and I am very anxious to hear anything else that may be coming out in the near future, as their new album Lines We Trace drops March 5th. Expect a review of the full-length!