This short and gorgeous EP entitled Before Nightfall from British folk outfit Dear Friends. is tailor made for the onset of autumn. It's spacious guitar strums, twinklings of piano, and barely there brushed percussion suggesting warmth and intimacy, inviting you to lean in closer and hear the stories, like a warm campfire on a chilly night. People tend to disregard guitar-based singer/songwriter fare, i.e. "folk music" as being hasty, unadorned, too simple, not requiring any skill. Dear Friends debunk this myth, and stand out from the coffeehouse imitators by taking their time.
These four songs were demoed and recorded over the span of three years. Each member would take turns bringing in words, phrases, choruses and melodies, to be fleshed out by the rest of the band. Egos were disregarded in the process. Every nuance exists only for the sake of the song, and the Before Nightfall EP stands out like a diamond in the gravel pit. I hesitate to even call this folk music. It may have started with a basis on strummed guitar chords and plaintiff vocals, but is so fleshed out with organs ("Sound Of The TV"), lashes of restrained electric guitar ("Forget"), slide guitar, and layered vocal harmonies, it could stand up next to a Beach Boys or The Left Banke record.
Perhaps it would be better to call this baroque chamber folk pop. It may be labeled as indie on Bandcamp but there is nothing rough or lo-fi about these recordings. The Before Nightfall EP is some of the lushest and most luscious self-produced music I've had the pleasure to think, and if this world is fair and just, the quality of this material should make Dear Friends. a household name.
Dear Friends. took three years to record these gems, so make sure to give them the time and attention that they deserve. Like the best acoustic music, it takes its time, revealing all of its splendors, and will be a welcome companion during the coming cold months. Fans of orchestral, folk tinged pop music, like early R.E.M., Elliott Smith, Nick Drake or Iron & Wine will swoon over these tapestries.
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