Sunday 27 May 2012

The Yarns - Chase Me To The Hills EP

EP review by KevW

Given their style and location, I think it's safe to predict that Oxford's The Yarns are in for their fair share of Stornoway comparisons in the lead up to their debut EP next month. Not only have that group given this first release their stamp of approval, 'Chase Me To The Hill' comes from a similar place both geographically and instrumentally. Digital sounds are shunned in favour of brass and acoustics and they live up to their name, using their songs to tell stories. This gives The Yarns' songs a traditional folk bent, but while they have one foot in the past the other is firmly planted in the present and they're not shy of talking about the current political and economic troubles facing the world.

This is done cleverly, without either preaching or stating the obvious. We're not exactly talking The Enemy and their faux political stance or the ham-fisted statements of The Levellers. 'Chase Me To The Hills' deals with these issues in a more subtle manner and if you strip away the meaning you find the music is a vital as its words, not just an empty vehicle for the lyrical message. The maudlin 'Properly Of Michael Docherty' is a threadbare, heartfelt ballad that shows a softer side, and 'The Engagement' tackles the age-old subject of a relationship breakdown but does so in a lyrically inventive way and minus the usual slush. With so many others jostling position in the indie/folk world it's not yet quite clear where The Yarns will fit, but hopefully they can muscle their way in somehow, as they have some very decent stories to tell.

The Yarn's website

Buy the EP

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