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Minor Alps' Introspective Harmonizing

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The name choice of 'Minor Alps' for the collaborate music project between Juliana Hatfield and Matthew Caws (lead singer of Nada Surf) evokes understated (or just humble?) grandeur - its not 'The Alps', the extensive, European mountain range, but a smaller, less notable (but more accessible) version.


This sensibility carries through brilliantly in the first single of Get There (2013): 'Buried Plans'. At only 2 minutes and 16 seconds, the track swiftly establishes a quiet, ambient musical atmosphere to accompany the thoughts of what seems to be an introspective introvert:


'Such a lonerhardly bring anyone overI keep everything as quiet as I canand over II just think it overI've got lots of buried, buried plansoh ooh/ oh oohoh ooh/ oh ooh'


The track comes across as being refreshingly intimate and simple, "with Caws and Hatfield harmonizing over fragile electronics and unobtrusive acoustic guitars" (Rolling Stone, 2013). NPR Music writer and editor Stephen Thompson observes, "together they have a very light, agreeable touch that to me is incredibly appealing" (NPR, 2013). 

The song's lyrical construction and musical arrangement is beautifully simple, with Caws and Hatfield's voices harmonizing beautifully into one another's (making it hard to distinguish the two), and the lyrics repeating the opening verse and the chorus. While this laidback vibe may be less effective on some of the album's other tracks, it works perfectly for the wallflower persona in 'Buried Plans', who seems contented enough to keep himself company while meditating on all the 'buried plans' which may never be executed. Saying less sometimes means so much more.