Third album from a Minneapolis based string band who can’t decide whether they are roots or pop.
This Minneapolis-based trio (Isaak Elker vocals, guitar, his wife Tori Elker, bass, vocals, and Sophie Mae violin, vocals) seem to be an energetic bunch. This, their third album, positively whisks along while, prior to the pandemic, they were playing 200 plus gigs a year. Their dedication to their music saw them awarded first place in the John Hartford Memorial Festival band competition back in 2018. This all sounds interesting but their description of themselves as a crossover between folk and indie pop act doesn’t bode well.
They’re not a bluegrass band. Instead, they have elements of old time music, folk and jazz in their melting pot, kind of a reminder of artists such as The Insect Trust and Maria Muldaur, back in the days. However, at times their pot boils over with far too many ingredients thrown in, the result more of a hotch potch. The opening song, ‘I Am Sad’ thrashes and flails with something of a Celtic touch to it and is followed by the ukulele led ‘Blue House’ which, in total contrast is touchingly tender. Next up they add horns to what is essentially an old time vaudeville number on ‘Hold Me’ and by now the listener is wondering just where they will be heading next. By the time they close the album with the lengthy title track we remain bemused.
While all three play well and the vocals (individually and in harmony) are fine there is a lack of focus which lets down their talent. In addition, none of the songs really grab one’s attention or stick in the memory. Fair enough, they are pleasant, but that’s hardly a recommendation these days when one can pluck almost any song from the ether – buyers want something they will return to I reckon.
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