Ray Allen the Band does a fantastic job of living up to their “minimalist” mantra, keeping things short, sweet and to the point with their Branches and Bones EP. Save for the rather cool water effects in the beginning of the introspective song “The Sailor,” everything is kept simple, down to the instruments used. Smooth guitar chords carry each of the four songs, while the mid-range vocals tell an interesting story.
The EP follows a bit of a bell curve. After the smooth beginning, we reach “Rockets,” a clear ascent towards the climax of the work, so to speak. This song is upbeat and super exciting to listen to, and I found my shoulders bobbing quite quickly into the song. It reaches a sort of musical plateau with “Tendrils,” which is not to mean that it got boring or petered out; rather, this song maintains a more workable pace than the song before, as the album coasts to five miles over the speed limit.
“Where It Ends” does a great job of bringing the music back down to earth, ending on a fun but noticeably toned down note. The vocal harmony sounded great and was well placed.
All throughout the album is the sense of making do with whatever was available, a sense that made this an extremely honest album to listen to. There’s nothing fancy or overdone here, which is exactly as it should be; the music doesn’t need electronic enhancement or frills. Kudos for recording it in a garage and keeping that theme without making it sound sloppy or unfinished!
Anyone looking for music at its skeletal core will really enjoy this; the authenticity speaks volumes more than the band would never need to do for themselves. Check it out!
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