What is great is that you get the best of both worlds, new, stripped back sonic journeys but ones which are built on the same creative pulse, musical references and progressive world view as Karda Estra.
By and large theirs is a soothing and soulful take on the genre, restrained and delicate and the gently sweeping violins and lilting banjo’s touch on pastoral bluegrass and bucolic folk as much as they do the traditional country music building blocks.
Zebulon pops when it needs to, rocks in a perfect gentle but assured fashion and drives on a bluesy-gospel funk. Bar room pianos skitter past, Hammonds swell and soothe, brass sections boogie things up and a pulsing back beat is created by a perfectly on the money rhythm section. It’s the Asbury Dukes playing a modern pop card, Nick Lowe funking it up or any number of modern power-pop bands exploring its parents record collection.
Folk music is a vague and variable term, a wide enough umbrella to cover everything from strident full band rock infused muscle to minimalist acoustic dream worlds and everything in between.
A blend of droning, tribal rock and roll that takes in Doorsian psychedelia and 60’s garage band, The Dandy Warhol’s dark pop and tips a hat to The Brian Jonestown Massacres free-wheeling sonic journeys. It is sad, beautiful and capacious and speaks to the moment but does so in such an understated way that as a message it is more subversive than rallying.
March is a lovely piece, all drama and astute dynamics, mixing angularity with rich vocal harmony, intimate lyrical connections with strident guitars and sweeping string sections.
In our post-genre, non-tribal, musical fluid world, Nova Flares is the equivilant of a skinny-jeaned indie kid wearing a Beach Boys t-shirt, clutching a Dream Syndicate album, whistleing a My Bloody Valentine tune (if that is even practical) as they make their way to a Warlocks gig.
is a manic, genre-bluring collection of retro-futuristic songs, in that it sounds like what the 21st centuary might sound like in the imagination of an early eighties post-punker, one who had grown bored with blues-based, three chord guitar possibilities and had rewired some broken keyboards and bent them to their will.
Personally I love the fact that it tips its hat at so many of my favourite artists. Listen to Rhapsody In The Rain and you can’t fail to hear Neil Finn, Chance reminds us of the fragile beauty of Nick Drake and Willow Way is Simon and Garfunkel had they spent their time hanging around The Cotswolds rather than writing modern mythologies for New York City.
Thomas Abban is a mystic, a weaver of dreams and imagination, but then being a Welsh-Ghanaian relocating to Minneappolis means that a complex array of cultural ideas and traditions have been absorbed in his mere twenty-one years.