Eastmountainsouth's debut album is a simple effort, but just because it's simple doesn't mean it lacks substance. Kat Maslich and Peter Adams have crafted a sweet set of songs for a springlike blend of classic folk and country. They carefully work with the basics when it comes to presentation; however, Maslich and Adams' talent lies in songwriting. Maslich and Adams pull from cherished literature, American culture, and family moments to compose their songbook. Each song arrives on its own thanks to the album's organic and earthy tones, while waves of passion are heavy without attack. Themes of love and heartbreak resonate throughout without being assuming, and if an artist is able to pull that off some 50 years after the dawn of rock & roll, it's pretty impressive. Eastmountainsouth does it and does it well. Stephen Foster's staple "Hard Times" is reworked for a bittersweet occasion, while banjos possess a darker mood on "Winter" and "The Ballad of Young Alban and Amandy." Breathy acoustic riffs carry the album as a whole, but Maslich and Adams also experiment with drum machines and electronics. "So You Are to Me" and "Rain Come Down" have lamb-like melodies and are much more full with Eastmountainsouth's informal work behind the sound board. One can only imagine that the country-rock duo will continue to work without conventional expectations for its second album. In the meantime, Eastmountainsouth is a great introduction to the band and solid enough to last until then.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by MacKenzie Wilson