It's been two and a half years since debut album, Five Hours North, but the follow up is instantly recognisable as a House Above The Sun release. They are just as hard to pigeonhole as before, with music that is bluesy, indie-rock Americana with a strong hint of country folk. While at first listen this feels very much a companion piece with their debut album, there's just a couple of signs of invention here that hint at an evolution.
Trains gives us a very strong opener, and gives a bit of continuity with the album. It pelts along at an upbeat pace, like the musical offspring of Fleetwood Mac and the Foo Fighters, giving you plenty to tap your foot along to. The band immediately applies the brakes a little with the slower Small Town, with it's simple Americana sound. It's more of a reflective track, and the quite brilliant use of the steel guitar really adds to the atmosphere.
In case you didn't feel that there were enough musical styles at play, they add a touch of bluegrass on the title track. The pared back sound fits really well with the vocals, but the simpler song structure really widens out into something special. The trumpet of special guest Sarah Woolfenden in particular is used really well, and more importantly, not overused.
The Bitter Life of Tony Starfish is the standout on the EP, seemingly at odds with the rest of the record. There's an inventiveness both lyrically and musically, though on repeated listens you can appreciate more how it fits in with the tracks around it. There's a vein of psychedelia running through it, and a more obvious sense of the experimental. A live version of fan favourite Footsteps closes out the EP and brings it full circle, a welcome return for a song that appeared on the debut.
Time I Got Goin' is both unmistakably the House Above The Sun we've seen before, and yet also something else. That they haven't just churned out more of the same is impressive, but there are signs here that the band could be becoming something quite special. This EP should definitely whet the appetite until a new album is released, and on this form, that album could be an instant classic.
|Soul Asylum: Hurry Up & Wait||Eileen Rose: Eileen Rose/Muscle Shoals|
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