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For Now: The Turning

Bruce Lindsay By

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For Now is a young Texas-based quintet—vocals, guitar, piano, bass, drums—led by singer and composer Isabel Crespo. The Turning is the band's second album, following 2018's self-produced Elsewhere and the first with new members Ben McDonald and Matt Young. As with the band's debut release, the sound is expanded by the addition of guest players, but this time instead of adding backing vocalists, For Now brings in more instrumentalists with a particular focus on wind instruments, which adds tonal variation to the central quintet. The resulting music reveals Crespo's impressively imaginative approach to singing and to composition, as well as the instrumentalists' ability to play with great feeling and sympathy—it's a strong second release.

Crespo's lyrics can be impenetrable, creating images for the listener that can vary each time the song is heard (prog-rock fans can take Jon Anderson's lyrics as a useful point of comparison). It's likely that the words will have meaning for Crespo, but she leaves it to us to ascribe our own meanings if we so wish—we can, of course, simply enjoy the flow of the words. When she sings wordlessly, as she does on a number of these compositions, Crespo is at her best when she's calm and relaxed: on "How The Light Gets In" she sounds particularly joyous. As her singing becomes more intense—as happens midway through "Eusocial Behaviour"—her voice can sound strained. This is a minor issue in the totality of the music presented here: a noticeable shift in her otherwise impeccable control but one that impacts only in passing.

The songs are quite beautiful. "Until We Wake" is gentle and graceful, with some lovely vocal/instrumental interplay and a lyrical bass solo from Mike Luzecky. The playful "Of Things Learned And Forgotten" is built around a staccato piano/drum pairing. "As It Is" is a brief and pretty instrumental number featuring flute, bassoon and bass clarinet. Its counterpoint is the equally brief "Sometimes I Can't Find You," which Crespo sings unaccompanied: a stunning song in which the singer beautifully communicates the heartbreak of the words. Building on the foundation of such powerful compositions, Crespo and For Now can look forward with confidence.

Track Listing: Until We Wake; Of Things Learned And Forgotten; A Sudden Shift In Reason; The Turning; As It Is; How The Light Gets In; Sometimes I Can’t Find You; Restless; To Be; Eusocial Behaviour.

Personnel: Isabel Crespo: vocals; Skyler Hill: guitar; Ben McDonald: piano; Mike Luzecky: bass; Matt Young: drums; Rachel Woolf: flute; Luke Wingfield: trumpet; Kelsey Gallagher: clarinet; Aaron Dutton: alto saxophone; Pete Fucinaro: tenor saxophone; Christian Ortiz: bass clarinet; Sara McCallum Addams: bassoon.

Title: The Turning | Year Released: 2019 | Record Label: Self Produced

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