Far from the maddening crowds of London, in the English Midlands lies the city of Leicester, home to the five-piece folk outfit The Hardy Band. The Hardy Band derives their sound not just from the old English folk songs of the past (although the violin is prevalent throughout) but also in the more folk-pop addled Americana outfits of the last decade or so, such as The Decemberists, Okkervil River, and Iron and Wine. American folk revisionists if you will.
Since forming the band they have gigged around their home turf quite a bit and find themselves well received. Their debut EP titled simply enough, The Hardy Band E.P are five folk induced tracks that represent a band which seems to be carefully making songs that don’t really stray too far from the dictionary definition of folk. This is not to say that The Hardy Band E.P comes off as a few heartless sketches. Far from it, although The Hardy Band seems apprehensive to attempt to fail on any of these tracks, keeping them rather simple and pure.
The opener “Falling for You” is built around finger-picked guitar and a scant drum beat. But what really makes “Falling for You” stand out are the beautiful vocal harmonies between the two vocalists Emma Clayton and Jay Hardy. Next up “Any Ideas” despite its pretty peals of violin falls into the alt country repetitive twang. “Right Here With You” would be a good song to build from. It’s loud and full and feels more original and truthful than any other song on the record. The next track “Get out of Here” takes on the form of the dirge, which the band plays nicely, though one recognizes it to be just as formulaic as every other dirge.
It’s no surprise to me that The Hardy Band has found success with in their native town and it wouldn’t surprise me if they found the same kind of success in places far outside of it. But one should be careful on weighing too much of their worth on fan base. There are many people in the world that are complacent enough. My advice to The Hardy Band would be, for your next record, don’t be afraid to color outside the lines. It can be very freeing and you never know what you may find.
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