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wood houseReleased: 2012

The title of Gloucestershire based folk outfit Hot Feet’s debut EP Wood House is an apt name for a collection of songs which feels like it was crafted amongst the trees in the autumn sunshine, drifting along like browning leaves falling from towering oaks in quiet rural landscapes.

The band openly admit their music lives and breathes the countryside, and it’s hard to disagree when music sounds this breathtakingly natural. Thinking of comparisons for this review, it becomes clear that these fresh-faced musicians are beyond comparison. Musically perhaps they reference the Martin Harley Band, but repeated listens will prove this collection of songs is much more haunting, much more hypnotic than that.

Vocalist Marianne Parrish has a voice so pure it could almost be the wind whispering sweet nothings into your ear as it drifts past. Most noticeably about her vocal style, her unusual melody changes are surprising but at the same time make total sense, and makes you wonder why more singers don’t experiment in this way more.

The EP opens with the title track which builds on a groove so solid, it could almost be one of the countryside dry-stone walls bassist Lachlan McLellan builds when not laying the musical foundations for Hot Feet. The song thunders along with such tenacity, it’s a shame that the other songs do not feature such heavy rhythm lines.

That said, the rest of the EP is nothing short of enchanting. Tales of forlorn lovers and imagery of the countryside where this music was crafted will keep you hooked. The closing duo of Pine Needle Blues and The Woe Does Fade is majestic and Under October boasts guitar intricacies worthy of older musicians. Indeed, this is perhaps the most astonishing aspect of the band: that they manage to sound much more mature beyond their 20 something years in such a convincing manner, that one is reminded of Tom Waits’ early career which achieved the same feat.

Having discovered this band live, I cannot recommend seeing them enough. In candlelit coffee shops and warm bars is where their music really takes off. Catch them on the Blue Bus Tour while you can!

★★★★★

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