Local Review: Declatel – Where the Pieces Came From

Local Music Reviews

Where the Pieces Came From
Street: 05.17
Declatel = Rüfüs Du Sol + Noah Kahan

Yearning for colder weather will bring any listener to the dark, moody aesthetics of Declatel’s debut album, Where The Pieces Come From. Declatel is a solo project from Salt Lake City musician Kevin Hartley, who is the sole writer, recorder and producer for the release. 

The album pulls from multiple alternative subcultures to make up its sonic structure, with synthesizer-heavy tracks paired with more traditional acoustic at the end. Influences from 2010’s indie, grunge and synth-pop are on full display. In the track “Backlit,” the album shifts to a more traditional piano ballad. Hartley’s forlorn vocals help bridge the gap between the different instruments on display, bringing consistency through the album.

The visuals of Decatel play a huge part in building out the world of the music. The cover features a dark and foreboding building, playing into the overall melancholy feeling seeping through the entire project. The singles for the project released prior feature the same black and white, high-contrast photography.

The vocal performances are also seeped in the same somber feel. Post-production echoes and reverbs add beautifully to the world of the album. On the track “Rag In The Glass”, a siren is heard before we are plunged into a lush soundscape of synth and drums. The sound quickly builds with electric guitar, before leading into the next song, “Modulo”, a more twinkly track.

While the album’s aesthetics create an overwhelming feeling of desolation, the ambiance within each track acts as a ray of sunshine, cutting through the black and white and bringing in a little hope. If you listen closely, sounds of birds and rain falling appear in the distance throughout the album. These little moments keep the album from feeling overly heavy.

Strong bass lines carry the listener towards the end of the album. The track “Start Again” plays us out, beginning with a more classic acoustic guitar riff. Hartley’s vocals echo and reverb, as though he is a ghost within the confines of the song. The names of the first and last tracks invite the listener to cycle through the whole album again immediately.

Where the Pieces Came From is a solid first release. After the summer heat cools and the leaves start changing colors, this album will pair perfectly with cold, cloudy mornings. The album calls to mind listening to alternative radio stations on a chilly morning in the 2010’s. Wistful, moody and unique. –Elle Cowley

Read more local album reviews
Local Review: Anaïs Chantal – Recipe
Local Review: Kal Mara – CATALYST