These days it seems like anyone who can hold a bow will throw some strings into their sound and slap “orchestral” in front of whatever homespun twist on “indie” they’ve created. But the inclusion of strings on greater>than’s month-old EP Break Us is fluid and natural, and to call the title track a folksy orchestral romp, a la Fleet Foxes, is fitting.
First, the strings on “The Word” add a very palpable tang and sugar to the force of Dan Miller’s percussion, while Isaac Johnson’s cello rises and falls, and guitar adds an unexpected jangle. Then, a sort of river dance is plucked out on “Sing Into My Silence” as vocalist Drew Miller reveals a plain but profound need: “I need to know I haven’t heard it all before/I need you to prove me wrong.”
It’s peppered with full-bodied vocal harmonies (“Meaningless”) and prolific tales, like “Sentimental Man,” which is a sort of “Nowhere Man” antithesis, opening with a comparison between the walls of an apartment and a man’s mind, as a mandolin (Johnson) flutters into the languid beat.
Easy and loose in its instrumentation, Break Us is lovely but not delicate, and Drew Miller’s not-so-smooth vocals and the liquidity of the music mismatch perfectly.