Written by: Jen Dan
Indie folk/pop duo Builder of the House has constructed a warm and welcoming debut album named Ornaments that’s set for release on July 14th via sonaBLAST! Records. Rob Cimitile and Elliot Heeschen comprise the act, with Cimitile on vocals and acoustic guitar and Heeschen on drums and samples. The band has been likened to Fleet Foxes, Lumineers, and Timber Timbre.
It was a winding musical road for Cimitile and Heeschen to get together as Builder of the House. In 2011 Cimitile had moved to Portland, Maine and graduated with a Master’s degree in music composition. He launched into a solo career as Builder of the House, dropping his first EP, I Am a Tidal Wave, a year after his start.
A chance meet-up with Heeschen occurred when they both joined a Zimbabwean marimba band and found a connection through music. They decided to work together to craft songs as Builder of the House. The duo toured as a live act and unveiled second EP, 2015’s Hourglass, via sonaBLAST! Records, snagging features at Consequence of Sound and other publications.
Builder of the House branched out into the visual aspect of making music videos for its tunes, gaining praise from Paste Magazine and the international music/film festival circuit. The act won 1st place for Best Music Video at MOVE Music Festival and Idyllwild International Festival of Cinema.
Cimitile and Heeschen built up Ornaments at the Acadia Recording Company in Maine, working with engineer Todd Hutchisen while Cimitile oversaw the arrangement and production details. The resulting album is a finely honed folk and pop journey of reflective to uplifting sounds, pleasantly harmonizing vocals, and thoughtfully thought-provoking, socially relevant sentiments.
The LP starts off with the aching march of “Never Going Back Again” that contains the kernels of wisdom that, “We’re all meant to grow / Shape and change the status quo.” and “…don’t look back / ‘cause the best part’s in the second act.” The lines are a potent reminder to move forward and embrace beneficial progress instead of reverting to erroneous and passé past ideologies and beliefs.
“When No One Is Here” is a buoyant number filled with briskly picked acoustic guitar, subdued bassline, other fluid guitar notes, delicately percolating percussion and Cimitile’s Chris Martin-like hushed vocal tone.
Crisp finger snaps percussion, contemplative guitar lines, and a measured, thumping beat run through “Look At The Man.” Cimitile sings in a hazy, yet deeper tone, conjuring up visions of Peter Gabriel, detailing what would seem to be a perfect man, but who is holding on to secrets about his gender identity.
The video for “Look At The Man” is an inside peek at the travails of and celebration of gender identity differences:
Folk-driven “Evergreen” features acoustic guitar with fingers glancing off the strings and a slighter faster drum beat which follow Cimitiles subtle vocals as he murmurs to his love to, “Let our love be evergreen / Promise me / Be there patiently.” Cimitile sings in a shadowy, but more straightforward register on the dynamic “Pray For Me.” Prominent lower-tone guitar strikes, electronic notes accompaniment, emphatic drum hits, and Climitile’s fervently exclaimed vocals on the chorus give the song weight and propulsion.
Folky-soul album-ender “Weight In Gold” is both somber and hopeful, treading with the same marching drum beat (and possibly accompanied by handclaps) as the LP’s first song. Fluid acoustic guitar strum is bolstered by dark electric guitar lines, lightly tinging and clanking percussion, and whispered harmonizing vocals. Cimitile declares with conviction that , “Nobody knows how the whole story goes…” and “Let the truth be told.”
Find out more about Builder of the House