Altar Magazine | Dana Reinoos

beautiful, melodic folky songwriting mixed with long epics

The debut album from this group of four men from rural backgrounds is on the same label as Devendra Banhart and Swans, which makes perfect sense. They are, in some ways, a combination of those two artists: beautiful, melodic folky songwriting mixed with long epics and somewhat inaccessible live shows. They wanted this album to be a triple one – very ambitious for a debut. But, their music backs up this egotism. They take influences from country, folk, and even minstrels, and make it something all their own. The lyrics are simple and to the point, yet still pack a punch, which adds to the album's stripped down feel. The entire lyrics to "Afford" read "The power I afford you/Is the one/I wish/I had/Over you." On the record's first (and best) track, "Before and Again," the vocals are alternating – deep and high, personal and aloof – as the acoustic guitars and string section are overlaid with electronic beeps and multi-tracked vocals. And when, with one minute left, the song becomes more upbeat and percussive, it doesn't seem wrong at all. These kinds of seemingly contradictory elements are present throughout the album, and make it all the more interesting and intriguing to listen to. This is one of the most accomplished albums, not to mention debuts, that I have heard in a while.