Inner Banks Press
Songs From Disko Bay (2009)
"...A celestial cornucopia of breathy vocals, swirling orchestration and stirring aural landscapes... Breathtaking... Not to be overlooked... Some of the most lush and eclectic songs released this year."
Time Out New York
"...A transporting new album."
"Reflecting this wistful and beautiful time of year, The Inner Banks latest album 'Songs From Disko Bay' is a mellow collection of songs mixing Mazzy Star and The Field Mice, some gentle string arrangements and touches of brass adding to the autumnal mood. Opening with some drunken keys, the first thing you notice is the gorgeous voice of Caroline Schultz, the crystal tones lifting the songs allowing them to soar over the excellent arrangements and production, all of which give the tunes a vibrant and warming glow. Highlights include the shimmering pop of 'Darling' and the opening track 'Lemon Tree' but it is all good."
"Starting off this album of eight slow psychedelic songs with one that's warped, glowing and full of different instrumentation and arrangements named 'Lemon Tree' is more than just promising, it's sweet. It, as well as the rest of the songs, breeds life into the music of married couple Caroline Schutz and David Gould not only because of the soft, driven melodies but for the fact that it was partly made while Schutz was preparing to give birth to twin girls ― you can feel the love. The couple don't falter once; they bring you into the fuzzy comfort zone they created. Schutz's vocals could carry the album on their own; she floats through each song in a sleepy haze, as if connecting the notes to the stars in the sky. That's not to say Gould's instrumentation is at all lost; his string arrangements are gorgeous and blissfully uneasy compared to his light drone. Songs from Disko Bay is one album that will find no trouble fitting into your lazy Sunday roster."
All Music Guide
"...There's a spirit of lush serenity, something that obviously nods to the endless late-'60s Beach Boys revival without sounding like it in full. It helps that singer Caroline Schutz has her own soft, swooning style, in the vein of the late Mary Hansen, that suits songs like 'Pyramids,' but on a song like 'Blame' her absence lets the lush, intricate style of the performance as a whole come forward all the more. Meanwhile, the arrangements from David Gould song for song refocus what the lead instrument is each time, ranging from the concluding textures that make the opening 'Lemon Tree' a striking beginning to the intricate acoustic guitars and prominent bass on 'Come Back' to the piano on 'Tournament of Wives,' weaving among the backwards feedback and slow, steady pace of the drums."
Dr. Bristol's Prescription
Spacey, dreamy, lush, trippy, ornate – these are not the adjectives that I usually type when writing about music because I’m easily bored by most bands that try to plow that road and fail. But there’s something about Caroline Schutz’s lilting voice that prevented me from hitting the skip track button, and the sonic landscape that she sings over (largely created by multi-instrumentalist David Gould, her husband) is consistently engaging. With a prominent bass and drum presence (kudos Jim Mansfield) to set the melodic pulse, all the flavoring (harpsichord, glockenspiel, French horns, etc.) can tickle your mind rather than getting lost in the mix."
"Schutz has an incredible voice which is obviously the focal point here. Only 34 minutes of music...but when the tunes sound this cool, who cares?"
"The latest [husband-and-wife combo] is whimsical folk team Inner Banks, who started work on their new album in 2006, a few months after singer Caroline Schutz completed her bed-rest following her delivery of twins. On Songs From Disko Bay, pegged for a September 15 release on Dag!, Schutz does her own mother and grandmother - professional singers both - proud."
"...One of the best albums I've heard in a really long time."
The Inner Banks (2006)
"The result is cultivated chamber pop with dulcet-toned vocals (courtesy of Schutz), considerable charm, and arranging finesse."
Artist of the Day (12/6/06) - "The musical pastiche of The Inner Banks is an exercise in euphony, with each disparate sound complementing the piece as a whole. Epics from anthills, each track is grand in scope yet completely unassuming, a piece of a soundtrack that never swells but always delivers."
Editor's Pick - "Produced with a fine tooth comb, The Inner Banks is an ambitious venture that unleashes about a million sounds at once and hopes to collapse into a rhythm that each individual listener will anoint as one of their own. Bask in this glorious songwriting glow for a moment because it will pass—only a handful of likeminded geniuses come forward through the murk of musicians every year and the Inner Banks are cream of the crop."
"Did I mention that I love this record? From the peerless textural grace of instrumentals 'Electric' and 'Acoustic' (the tunes that bookend these proceedings) to the unerring perfection of 'Glittering Sky' (with its gorgeous vocal duet between Schutz and Greta Gertler and some sweetly sad piano), to the killer up-tempo keyboard riff and elegant strings on 'Siberia,' to the surprising lap steel playing by Michael Gomez on 'Buried West' and 'Anthem'’Äîthat latter song (featuring Schutz again) an obvious highlight, with one of the most stirring melodic buildups I've heard in several years-it's all...just...wonderful."
"The Inner Banks [self-titled debut] is crammed with shimmering pop nuggets well worth discovering. With chiming guitars and soft pealing bells 'Electric' is a mellow delight underpinned with delicate string and a candy heart. The same sweet touch is employed on 'Glittering Sky' but this time some aching vocals bring everything into focus in delightful fashion. Elsewhere 'Siberia' has a rockier sound, although this is softened by the strings, as well as some fine electric piano playing, whilst 'Anthem' is the sound of Americana played by Air. Those of you who live in places where summer is arriving should pick this up to play in the sunshine, those of you who don’t should pick this up to remind you of the warmth."
KQED Arts & Culture
"It is lovely and full, with a harmonic (not polyphonic!) swell to it that manages to be uplifting without merging into Christian Rock territory. Lead singer Caroline Schutz has a dreamy, pretty voice that could lead to some opportunities to sub in for Elizabeth Frazer, should the two dudes in the Cocteau Twins ever try to recreate the old band. The main difference is that you can actually understand Schutz's enunciations, which is nice."
"David Gould, like Sufjan Stevens, Tim Gane, and David Axelrod, is a pop auteur, a producer, arranger, and songwriter capable of turning out svelte four-minute pieces that are at once challenging and digestible."
"The seven buoyant and luscious tracks on The Inner Banks are exquisitely arranged, with fingerpicked acoustic guitar figures yielding to swelling strings, electric piano melodies accented by brushed drums and muted horns, and Caroline Schutz’Äôs crystalline voice singing impressionistic lyrics, as she does on only two cuts, 'Glittering Sky' and 'Anthem'. Elsewhere, her lovely vocal contributions are wordless ooh's and ahh's. Perhaps the only other band I know of operating in a similar stylistic realm is Zero 7, although that act is less folky and more overtly pop. Never mind these attempts at finding musical touchstones for the Inner Banks. They have crafted a gorgeous, warm, gently winding debut worth returning to again and again."
"I'll be hogtied if this Brooklynite composer David Gould (The Bootleg Remedy) and his partner/wife/vocalist Caroline Schutz (Folksongs for the Afterlife) don't make me want to go to North Carolina even more than ever before. Something about these songs — they're warm, resolute, timeless, pretty — and how they mirror what I imagine North Carolina will be like. Who knows? Maybe I'll hate it there. But I doubt that. So I guess I know what I need to do (book a flight). And I guess you know what you need to do (listen to The Inner Banks)."
"Songs that are perfect for early mornings."
"Holy Christ, the song 'Anthem' by The Inner Banks is amazing. This is Sufjan, but with hooks; This is the perfect hypothetical combination of George Harrison sitar riffing (if he were playing banjo), Neil Young’s 'Old Man,' and the last Air album. This is otherworldly chamber music, but we don’t feel as though we're about to be handed a Gideon Bible."
"Too often, groups of this approach get lost in translation, trying to push the envelope but ending up lost in a drudgery of uninspired material. I am happy to say that this release is truly something magical, more inspired than other releases of said genre and distinction."
The Daily Tar Heel
"With each note gently placed in its proper spot, the EP's soaring strings, dexterous finger-picked banjo and haunting vocals combine to create an album that is tidy but bursting at the seams with excitement, as if there is a huge secret lying in the folds of the band’s mostly instrumental music. And trying to find out what the secret is is what makes this debut so thrilling."
"The Inner Banks seem to embody fall in Appalachia. The lazily winding melodies, the sparse but warm harmonies, all seem to reflect sparkling mountain streams and gently falling autumn leaves. Maybe you’ll agree, or maybe you’ll be lucky enough to see something completely unique to you."
"Curious about what New York-based Inner Banks might sound like? Take Tim Gane, Laetitia Sadier and the rest of the Stereolab gang circa their Dots and Loops phase and sternly rip their keyboards and synthesizers away from them (this won't be easy, but with a little pleading and struggling it can be done). Now replace their keys with banjo, lap steel, vibes, cello, French horn, trumpet and other chamber instruments, garnish their heads with cowboy hats, relocate their studio to some snowed-in cabin of the linking-log, bearskin rug sort preferably in a heavily wooded area, maybe grow a few beards and clothe in flannel, scatter friendly wildlife creatures and stand idly with a well-trained recording engineer."