Album Reviews

#Sassafras: The Falls

#Sassafras: The Falls

The Falls // Into The Fire EP – Verve Records
Record Label: Verve Records (To Be Released February 18th, 2014)

Just when you thought The Civil Wars had the market cornered on sparse acoustic, on again off again male/female duos who play somber music, along comes The Falls. The Australian duo of Melinda Kirwin and Simon Rudston have made their way stateside with their new EP Into The Fire on Verve Records. Full of haunting vocals and

“Please” opens the collection with a pleading chorus and swirling string section joining the acoustic picking and piano keys. In 3 minutes you go from “I’ve heard it before” to “Oh, this is something different”. By the end of the first cut, you know that this isn’t some carbon copy of a band you already know, they have their own voice and their own story to tell.

Melodica joins the scene on “Girl That I Love” (a grossly underutilized instrument in my opinion). “There’s the girl that I love, the girl that makes me mad as hell”. It’s a testament to loving someone that brings you up and down. Drums sneak in halfway through, adding emphasis to the repeated line of “Here we go like a roller coaster”. The first single off the new EP, “Home”, is a hand-clapper of escaping the past and returning home. The song is an instant signalong ala The Lumineers. Watch out though for the left-field video with blood filled glasses and sinks, zombies and scary children.

“Hollywood” is story song of going to Hollywood to make it big, while trying to hold onto your goodness, humanity and ability to call back home. It’s a dramatic and emotional song made even more so with swelling strings. Just like the handclaps earlier in “Home”, “Hey” marches in with the foot stomps. It’s a common sound among their contemporaries Of Monsters And Men and it works for them just as much. The stomps and strums rolls the momentum along while shouts of “Hey, can you hear what I’m trying to convey?” make it clear The Falls want to know if they message is being received.

Closing with the title track, “Into The Fire” could go toe to toe with a Neko Case offering, with a similar Americana torch song style. For a band that has suffered the slings and arrows of love, it only makes sense to end their new EP with such a dynamic and deep song of love.

Into The Fire is a great collection of heartache vocals set to acoustic guitars and string sections. If you’d like to hear more from them, check out the EP and see them live when they come to the Port City Music Hall in Portland, ME on February 28th with Delta Rae.

Mark Nason

February 18th, 2014

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