The Busking EP by Hatted Doe is an excellent sampling of bluesy rock songs. Tipping the hat (no pun intended) to the title of the EP, the songs are stripped down to just guitar and voice (both of which are occasionally overdubbed upon) and the songs hold up very nicely making for an intimate and rewarding listening experience.
The EP opens with “Still Standing” which sounds like a stripped down Guess Who fronted by Nico channeling Linda Perry. The chorus is catchy and has some nice backing vocals. The guitar breaks are bluesy and well executed. “Songs To Set You Free” is a slow groove with an R&B like flavor to it. The chorus is very catchy, and the vocal delivery throughout is very emotional and powerful. There is some Marc Ribot-ish herky-jerky guitar soloing at the end that is a nice punctuation to the song.
“What It’s All About” follows a descending guitar pattern and a gritty bluesy Janis Joplin vocal on top. An extremely well executed guitar solo and a husky vocal performance give the song lots of soul. The lyrics are smart and as usual for Hatted Doe, the chorus is very well constructed. “Tell Me Angel” is another good foray into r&b with its choppy guitar and soulful vocal line. The reverb laced finger-snaps that occasionally show up are a nice touch that add some unobtrusive percussive qualities in a winking way.
“Present Forever To Last” closes the EP and departs from the 1960s classic rock vibe that influenced most of the preceding songs and moves more into a 1990s 4 Non Blondes power ballad territory. The execution is flawless, the vocal tone fits perfectly and there’s a haunting slide guitar solo to break up the verses. It’s the strongest song on the EP and it would be interesting to see the band follow up on this direction of songwriting more.
The songwriting and performances are good, and if this sampling shows what half the band can do on their own, it’ll be great to hear a full album with the full band.
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