Towers is the studio project of Kansas native, Chase Horseman. Recorded in bedrooms, basements and closets over two years, For Whatever We Were & What Will Never Be was completed in the summer of 2012. Sometimes it takes a hot minute for music to reach our dainty ears, but when it does, and it’s awesome and exciting, you can bet we want to share it with all of our loyal friends and readers. Although I’m a little late to the Towers party, I can’t help but introduce this album to you.
The album starts off quietly, subtly, slowly, with Horseman’s vocals accompanied by an unfaltering bass line. “For Whatever We Were” doesn’t take long to grow into something a little more fleshed out; piano and acoustic melodies join him at the chorus, and steady percussion soon after, starting Towers’ debut album off on a strong note.
“Head West” floats between soft, melodic verses and a powerful chorus. Isolated guitar leads the song off, eventually joined by Horseman’s plaintive vocals. Right when the lyrics get to the heart of the issue, full instrumentation kicks in. It’s impactful, to say the least.
One of the shortest tracks on the album, “Stand Alone”, clocks in at only 2:15, but what it lacks in length it makes up for with emotive lyrics. The song doesn’t try to be more than what it is, reaching its climax after just two verses, and ending elegantly.
Following is “Mt. Calvary”, possibly my favorite song on For Whatever We Were & What Will Never Be. The instrumentation, vocal delivery, and lyrics all come together to create a melancholy tone that I feel deep in my soul, and after a brief pause, a guitar solo kicks in that carries the song’s emotion perfectly to the end. Dark bass and foreboding percussion accompany this climactic solo, making the emotion in “Mt. Calvary” inescapable. It’s really the perfect storm of a song and was played on repeat for longer than I care to admit.
After a few more songs, the album ends with the ambient, instrumental swells of “Settling”. I usually prefer when songs end on, well, a “song” in a more traditional sense, but I feel like the album that preceded was so emotionally charged, that “Settling” was an appropriate sign off.
The highlight of the album is undoubtedly Horseman’s vocals. They carry the softness and earnestness of Justin Vernon, along with the poeticism in his lyric composition. The power held in those lyrics coupled with full, lush instrumentation and a definite skill in composing said instruments to very effectively communicate mood result in one of the best albums I’ve heard in quite some time.
The only unfortunate thing about For Whatever We Were & What Will Never Be is that it took so long to reach my ears. This album was enjoyable from start to finish, filled with indie rock and folk-tinged tracks that all worked wonderfully together in an album and were each lovely as standalone songs. It’s been difficult to put this album down, and I’m looking forward to months from now when I still think the same thing.