The six-member brigade is a tangled family tree of assorted siblings and newlyweds, all singing about riding bikes and going on picnics. Dubbed "St. Louis's Most Adorable New Band" by the Riverfront Times, Scarlet Tanager's twee sensibility is offset by plenty of exuberant quirk -- for starters, check out the handmade puppets and sets for their video "Tumbleweed."
On their debut album, "American Songbird," the multi-instrumental sound and upbeat, campfire singalong vibe is reminiscent of the Danielson Famile, but Susan Logsdon's nymphet vocals draw a better comparison to groups like A Smile and A Ribbon or Thao & Mirah. Their repertoire features toy pianos, call-and-response, handclaps and marching band rhythms courtesy of its creatively inclined membership. Lyrics range from the sugary ("I want to kiss the words off your lips," from "The Birds of the Dawn") to the extremely sugary ("We can rest our heads on the same pillow/When we live in the same zipcode," from "Zipcode").
Yet this band's camaraderie is infectious; listening to these Live at KDHX tracks, it's clear they're all having a blast singing and playing together. "The duty, winged flame of spring/ Is but to fly and love and sing," said James Russell Lowell -- a quote from "The Nest" that's plastered all over the band's various networking sites. Scarlet Tanager's youthful joy soars above the poet's words. Best listened to on a picnic blanket spread under a shady tree with the person you've had a crush on since grade school.