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Distilled Harmony

Northeastern University

Bird Set Free - Single (2017)


Review By TeKay

August 29, 2017

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How I do love the spunkiness of Distilled Harmony. They totally grabbed my attention and affection two years ago with the release of their single Nothing Feels Like You. The full album DISTILLED showed the makings of an incredibly talented and energetic group, though one not always up to the challenge of maintaining the passion of that captivating debut.

That mixed bag of ideas and execution continues with the group's latest endeavor Bird Set Free. The group is capable of creating some of the most breathtaking music around — sounds that burrow into the skin to ensnare the heart and soul with tiny tendrils of fervid emotion instantaneously. The first few measures of Bird Set Free are sublime in their sparse simplicity. Airy spaces allow soloist Jessica Dunn the opportunity to test her ability to take flight, her voice being literally free to roam and soar as it pleases, conveying a lack of confidence with an overwhelming curiosity. 

Dunn continues that journey throughout the song; it's the arrangement and background that tend to want to ground this wandering bird unnecessarily. Oh that 'twere a complete reimagining of the song, arranger Jon Deltoro would have created a bonafide hit. Instead, the aggressive chorus breaks away from the charm estalisbhed previously. I know that's the intent of the original, but where Sia comes with a gravitas that's palatable, it doesn't translate the same here; it's actually too distilled. 

And yet, I love it. I can't help myself. Like I mentioned earlier, the music just gets inside of you. So set yourself free and simply revel in the harmony you will hear.

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