God bless the time machine for plucking Ed Anderson straight out of the first jam session for The Mamas and the Papas and placing him here in the present. The frontman for Chicago-based The 1900s has a voice silkier than Egyptian cotton and more reliable than a Tokyo subway train. Heck, even the way he dresses screams “I come from a different time and I can play my ass off!”
“Supernatural,” the tenth track off of their new release, Cold & Kind, has the undesirable task of following two definitive barnstormers, “Two Ways” and “The Medium Way.” But like all things from the 1900s (both the century and the band), things get progressively better and better. Layers of subtle Americana and pyschedelia weave together, not to outshine Anderson’s voice, but rather to draw it out. Of course, when you’re supported by the cherubic stylings of Caroline Donovan and Jeanine O’Toole, you can sound like total crap and still make gold records.
“Supernatural” is the figurative eye of the storm on Cold & Kind, where a heavily echoed call from Anderson lets the listeners know they can take their hands out of the air for a hot minute and stretch out. He continues to very quietly preach about a less stressful world, strumming aimlessly – a pattern that continues perhaps thirty seconds too long, until the group’s all too familiar piano punches in a simple staccato rhythm that shifts the mood of the tune towards the more joyful side of the spectrum. Chorused voices (performed better by only a select few) ring clear and true, piling some hope upon that joy. And before you know it, your shoulders are once again lifting your arms towards the sky and your feet bounce awkwardly as the group’s ‘60s soul gets back to where it belongs.
While not the standout track by any means, “Supernatural” personifies many, if not all, of the qualities that make the music of The 1900s just straight-up MUSIC. When you chance to see them in the live setting, few experiences are more organically cathartic.