“For you, I’ll go and dig up my old roller-blades/ I’m taking off work for the weekend,” Butterflies frontman Josh Kimbrough promises during “Relive Brielle,” perhaps the best song on his band’s Nothing’s Personal. Musically, the song is uncharacteristic of the band, its electric charge proving an unexpected counterpoint to the rest of the album’s acoustic shuffle. But thematically, it’s the crux of what Butterflies is all about: small, simple gestures of friendship cast through a nostalgic filter.
Purportedly the product of Kimbrough’s post-grad musings about lost friends, bands and freedom, Nothing’s Personal proves to be a bittersweet collection that plays like a series of extremely personal notes: “Hang-Ups” tides its morose verses (“The words once music to your ears/ Have turned to daggers in your heart”) into the album’s most hopeful refrain: “You’re gonna make it/ Whatever you do.” The simplicity in the lyrics behooves Kimbrough, whose limited voice manages to express a very real sense of vulnerability and honesty. In fact, the album’s biggest flaw comes from overdone arrangements, auxiliary instruments brought too far to the fore, where they intrude on Kimbrough’s coming-of-age reflections. However, even this flaw is relative. An example: Robert Britt’s fiddlea frequent culpritdraws intricate and delightful melodies. Even as it oversteps, it engages.
Overall, though, Butterflies’ latest aims for the heart and rarely misses. Kimbrough’s songwriting is detailed but not obsessive, allowing the gauze of memory to soften his focus. In tandem with his voice, it gives the songs a welcome sense of sincerity and intimacy.
Butterflies headlines a free show at Local 506 Wednesday, March 18. Husband & Wife and Wes Phillips open.