Sunday, 11 September 2011

A Weakness For Harmonies

There are plenty of slightly doleful, jean-clad, folky harmonisers lurking out in the mists. Sweet, twee and utterly vapid, yet hell-bent on clogging up one's ears with cable-knit earnestness. The demonstrable effect of which is akin to a giant smug sigh. There are few things truly as dull as when an otherwise inoffensive genre shuffles up to politely handbag the listening public, but that's what happens when folk attacks. Tea, trees and twiddly-dee songs of melancholia for everyone!

Right now contemporary folk feels almost beyond redemption. Boring music by numbers, thoroughly moribund with both a sense self-inflated authenticity and well stroked beards in dutifully curated states of distress.
Thankfully there are exceptions to this stream of tediousness...
March of Dimes are a alt-country band, rich with the sort of concinnity that acts as a lodestone for attention. After following up on a recommendation, the Leeds based group have become addictive listening.

The (now) five-piece started as a musical project of commemoration and celebration. The first album, 'All Intents And Purposes', 2008, certainly does sound personal, but there's unexpected quirks and tangents that transform the songs into something greater than audio diary entries of middle-road lyricism. It serves as a reminder that ardency isn't always a bad thing; running alongside the (rather charming) mostly sad songs is unheralded vein of flippancy and musical skill that is very definitely beguiling.
Aside from the first album there's a couple of EPs too, all under Hope House Records; the entire collection can be found for streaming here. I promise it's worth it.
The latest EP is a little richer in tone; a little more polished, but it bodes well for future releases. B-side 'The Navigation Song', is just the right side of wistfulness to make it the perfect accompaniment to fleeting scenes from train windows, or all other autumnal travel needs.
I'm a sucker for good harmonies; it's a pleasure to find a new reason to actually enjoy them.


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