Favouring the approach made famous by Bon Iver in recent years, Maitland’s Josh Hines and Jeff Mach have opted for that increasing popular “back to nature” style with their second EP, ‘(from a cabin in the woods)’. This Pennsylvania-based duo come equipped with just two drums, acoustic guitar and their own voices so the intimacy suggested by the EP’s title may be the obvious reference point yet it forms an accurate description too.
‘Embers’ is a great way to show off their skills. The twin drum sound adds a neat twist to the usual nu-folk recordings by fleshing out the arrangement but it’s the harmonies of the two protagonists (calling to mind past masters such as Simon And Garfunkel and Kings Of Convenience) which stand out the most. The centre point, in more ways than one, is the absolutely delightful ‘Drop Down'; a song which revolves around some gorgeously doleful guitar patterns, rain imagery and experimental yet stunning work on the vocals. Even a twelve-minute finale is carried off with panache as the music swells and calms at just the right moments to keep the listener on their toes.
Infact, all five tracks offer tunes which are richly layered and utterly melodic and you wouldn’t put it past this duo taking their well crafted songs to wider audiences in the future, given the current demand for this style of music. The important thing is, though, that they don’t do lose the combination of tenderness and etherealism that makes them so special.
Bon Iver, Simon And Garfunkel, Kings Of Convenience