Introducing a heartwarming sound that captivates listeners with the passionate qualities of bliss and simplicity, the Phoenix, Arizona-based folk quartet The Senators made a breathtaking first impression with the release of their debut full-length, Harsher Than Whiskey, Sweeter Than Wine. The beauty that derives from this group’s powerful musicianship can be traced back to a style that draws inspiration from the sensible impact of colossal indie rock acts such as Coldplay and Death Cab For Cutie, while they follow in the footsteps of alternative folk rock torchbearers like Mumford & Sons and Iron & Wine.
Embedding vivid imageries of the setting sun into your thoughts instantly, the album’s opener, “Lights,” gives you an inspiring jolt of energy to start your day on a refreshing note through its pulsing harmonies that unite with the buildup of the song. Immediately after the aligning transition into “Music From Another Room,” the articulate spontaneity of the group’s influences can be found within the first half of the record. The backbone of their sedative musicianship can be highlighted in “Queen Of Spades” and “Lazarus,” which both deliver an introspective melody that mirrors the solemn tone of Death Cab’s Transatlanticism and The National’s Trouble Will Find Me.
While the band eloquently oscillates with a delightful arrangement that complements their diverse influences, Harsher Than Whiskey is a record that also uniquely resonates with their Westernized surroundings. With ballads like “The Nightingale” and the title-track, “Harsher Than Whisky,” you can tell The Senators are a group that holds their homeland close to their hearts.
Incorporating a desolate and harmonizing entity that cherishes their roots, Harsher Than Whiskey, Sweeter Than Wine is an outstanding debut effort that offers us refreshing perspective on how to look at the world around you. Observing this record through a self-reflexive lens, the sincerity that shapes The Senators’ musical inspirations can be truly found through the ideology of finding peace through enjoying the little things in life.