I’m going to start by saying that I enjoyed listening to this EP from Chasing Owls. It’s solidly good folk, with delicate boy/girl harmonies and a variety of well played instrumentation. That said, it’s not ground breaking and, while I can appreciate that it may grow on me, I’m not sure I’ll get round to giving it the time.
‘Train’ is the stand out for me, which might be because I first listened to it on a train speeding through the American Midwest and it perfectly soundtracked my internal indie film moment. Plus I am a huge fan of hand clap breakdowns (I blame Hanson) and the one here ensures this is going to be a belter at gigs. In fact I can see myself being won over by these guys in a live setting.
Similarly, ‘The Cutting Years’ is beautiful and really allows the accent of the vocalists to come through, always a winner if you’re Scottish and I’m listening. Unlike the first two tracks, more on them in a moment, the chorus here is what makes the song, with great interplay between the harmonies and a sense of having gone somewhere emotionally by the end of the song.
‘Old Man’ and Here ‘Come The God’, the opening two tracks, have great verses that unfortunately build to slightly irritating repetitive and uninspired choruses and then don’t really go anywhere. It’s a shame because the imagery in each of the songs, all hills and sands and water, is very beautiful, but just as I was about to get into them the annoying choruses would kick in and grate me out of the zone. This is especially true of the second track.
Ultimately, in a very full market, if I want indie Scottish folk I’m probably still going to turn to Endor and Frabbit, because I love their raw emotion, but if you like your folk more Mumford and Laura Marling than James Yorkston, then you will really like these guys. If they make more music that sounds like the last two tracks in future, then I might really like them, too.
Out now through the Chasing Owls website.
Posted by Katy Cousins.