The Musgraves: Lost In Familiarity EP
Release: April 26 2011
Label: Lookout Mountain Records
There’s something incredibly uplifting about folk-pop when it’s done right. Midlands-based The Musgraves begin their brand new EP, Lost In Familiarity with the instantly classic So Sofia and within seconds you know that you’re listening to something truly great, heartfelt and special.
On So Sofia handclaps, vocals, piano, acoustic guitars and banjo combine thrillingly to grin-inducing, lip-biting, heart-swellingly perfect effect. It’s as infectious and upbeat as a pop song could come, like the first carelessly hopeful rays of sun poking through after the longest of winters. The Musgraves manage to capture concentrated positivity, a sense of fun undercut with the quietest of summer sadness effortlessly.
The melody in Back To Me showcases a Mraz-like eye for easy going pop sensibilities and illustrates exactly why Imagem Music (home to Vampire Weekend, Phil Collins and even Britney Spears) came a-knocking this year and picked up band’s signatures on the publishing front. There’s something so genuinely feel-good in The Musgrave’s sound it’s very difficult not to get caught up in it all. The melodies on Lost In Familiarity fit singer Matthew Bennett’s voice so naturally, the performances capture such an incredible sense of rightness it’s as if he was born to sing these exact songs. It’s a pretty special sound.
Third track Discover Me shows The Musgraves are entirely capable of using their considerable talents for something a little different. The arrangement and harmonies here recall Warnings/Promises-era Idlewild at their finest whilst Bennett’s vocal recalls David Gray at his best whilst managing to be hauntingly different to the carefree rallying cries of So Sofia and Back To Me.
Listen a little closer and you’ll find that Lost In Familiarity yields up yet more treasures. There’s an attention to detail in the production that tells of hours of careful deliberation in the recording process. The stabbing piano intro to “Back To Me” and subsequent instrumentation of that song in particular both recalls the classic production of early soul and late 50s/early 60s pop whilst providing a pretty convincing template for what bands like The Ronettes, The Crystals and The Shirelles would have sounded like had they had today’s digital technologies to hand.
They say that the best songs are instantly familiar, they catch something inside and you feel like you’ve always known them. On this showing The Musgraves won’t be lost for much longer.
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