It didn’t take fans long to decide they wanted more from We Are Voices. When the band opened a Kickstarter drive to raise the $5,000 to record its second album it took just five weeks to reach that goal. Even more impressive, nearly all of the money came in $10 to $50 donations, meaning there was no sugar daddy bankrolling this project.
The result is “Tread Lightly,” an hour of indie rock that recalls the finer moments of Coldplay and U2. A dozen snapshots capture moments of loss and frailty, uncertainty, assurance and love.
“Fine” is a solid choice as lead single. The ballad shows off the group’s penchant for carefully constructing spectral, comforting soundscapes that slowly build to a climax of drums and guitar. “End Is Coming” works in a different vein, relying on a throbbing baseline before pretending to change course on the coda. For a moment, despite all evidence to the contrary, it seems like disaster may be averted — then the ominous baseline returns.
Producer Aaron Crawford, who worked with the Kansas City quartet for their first album, 2010’s “What Makes Us So Alive,” also is behind the boards for “Tread Lightly.” The band bet on themselves by writing and rehearsing as much of the album as possible before opening the Kickstarter campaign. Recorded in Eudora, Kan., and Parkville, Mo., the album should translate very easily to the stage and have no problem filling a club.
“Tread Lightly” is almost too light during the back half. The sequencing of ballads makes for a dreamy listen that could use another straight-up rocker to bring the music back down to earth. The spare instrumentation and voice-in-a-well production on “Go On” and “ ’54-’55” works well, but both songs are done a disservice by having their similar approaches placed so closely together in the sequencing.
“Fall Asleep” is one of the rare rockers on the second side. The drop between the gorgeous guitar solo ending the song and the delicate strumming that opens “Love Will Fall” makes the dynamics of both numbers more powerful. Another moment like that would have added punch and forced the ear to stay closer to the speaker.
Living up to its name, “Tread Lightly” is never bold or forceful, but should make the Kickstarter fans proud and earn the band some well-deserved new ones.