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by Stephen Moore
Thursday, December 20, 2012
A faltering start sees real potential hidden behind a patchy set of nostalgic, Mumford-like rousing folk
Having traipsed around America for several years with songwriting partner Jeremiah Fraites, lead singer Wesley Schulz found his cellist Neyla Pekarek, and eventual success in the rustic folk-pop wake of all-conquering Mumford & Sons.
You’ll likely have caught their simple, banjo-tinged stomp-and-shout Hey Ho in a recent Apple ad, and this self-titled debut has a fistful more where that came from, including Submarines’ delusional sailor set to a military rattle drum and piano, his comrades barking the title.
Not all are as memorable, but there’s plenty of fleet-of-foot folk and sea-shanty bar-room stomp to go around, some of them recalling a less sparky Arcade Fire.
Heartfelt and lovelorn is the lightly nasal Schulz’s stock in trade, and he does reveal some nice lyrical turns and potential for depth in the likes of Slow It Down and the haunting Morning Song, but overall this set is left scrabbling for memorable moments.
It’s a nostalgic, spirited set alright, but isn’t quite consistent enough.