Love Is Melancholy, the new EP from folk-rock group Vandaveer, paints the turn of life’s seasons in vivid, autumnal hues. The three-track offering from the Kentucky-based tunesmiths features songs written during studio sessions for The Wild Mercury (Sony imprint WhiteSpace Records), the band’s fifth full-length album released earlier this year.
The title track is a glistening, slow-burner rework of a song from The Wild Mercury. The spirited arrangement of the original is slowed down here, forming an expansive and languid atmosphere of “tales that we’ve been weaving with hidden meaning.”
The intertwined vocals of Mark Charles Heidinger and Rose Guerin — Vandaveer’s core duo — convey both depth and playfulness throughout, augmented by contributions of longtime collaborators — multi-instrumentalists Justin Craig (Hedwig and the Angry Inch) and J. Tom Hnatow (Horse Feathers), and drummer Robby Cosenza (Horse Feathers, The Fanged Robot).
“Lock and Key” is a tender lullaby (“sleep tight, rest right, on my word, the dark don’t bite”) that fits on the playlist alongside fellow Kentuckian Sturgill Simpson’s “Breaker’s Roar.” And the wry “All These Songs Sound the Same” takes a charming domestic vignette and Steinbeck reference as starting points to explore time’s passage. The inimitable Stephen Trask makes a guest appearance on keys, brightening the narrative arc from childhood innocence to a traveling musician’s trials.
The final result — glowing, pensive ruminations on the heart as both lock and key — is anything but melancholic.