8 December 2015

Boroughs - Boroughs EP

Another band I owe an apology to are Americana act Boroughs, I am sorry it has taken me a lot longer than I had promised to do this and words of that nature.  Boroughs come from Los Angeles, CA in America and are comprised of Kyle Neal, Derrick Wong, J David Carrera & Tyler Johnson.  On this release they have extra help from Natalie Nicoles, Natalie Meadors and Nicole Vaughn on vocals and this EP was produced with the help of John Spiker of Tenacious D.  The band site Wilco, Ryan Adams and early Neil Young as influences, considering two of those artists made my personal top 75 albums of the year might be a good sign (or a possible red herring).  Now this release with be using the EP/Singles scoring system (not been used for a while) and without further delay it is time to get this review started.

"Keep It Up" is a song about mis-spent youth, getting into trouble and looking for something a bit more than the lots that has been dealt out.  A cautionary tale which reminds me of a mixture of the Cardinal Trait and Aimee Mann at their most reflective, it is a good song which showcases that alternative country style of the band and is pleasant on the ear.  "Alive" follows on and once more we have a song which is tainted with a regret weaved into the fabric of the song, as if someone is in danger of self-destruction due to control issues.  You are listening to a confessional tale here, at least that is how it looks from the outside and it does weigh down on the song.  Musically it is well played once again, the solo in the middle is beautiful and the slide guitar (which is used throughout the EP) is also heart wrenching.  The halfway point is marked with the pleading "Stay with Me" which slows things down a bit with this ballad/plea for companionship from a lover, it is very gentle and relaxing on the ear and drifts past like moonbeams reflecting on the planet.  It is a song which is performed very well and it takes a while to show itself in places, but it is not one I would go back to as much as "Keep It Up" and "Alive".

"Give It Time" is once more harvested from a gentle source, a song about patience and needing time to adapt to a situation that is not desirable, but certainly not awful either.  You have natural peaks and troughs in this song, it does start off very quiet and there was a danger of two really slow songs in a row which can sap energy from any release at times if not handled correctly.  Boroughs have done it brilliantly here and it is a really good number as we head toward the ending duo of this release.  "Anytime" is the penultimate track of this release and it seems to be a same about battling oneself and receiving help from a friend/lover, this song is done to a gentle strumming, pedal steel drifting through the song and a feeling a reflection and some regret added to the mix.  It is performed very well and sets us up for "Enough" which is the last song of the record.  It is a song about being in love, wanting to give more and also being satisfied with your love life.  Whilst it has an overall tone of happiness, it also has those doubts in the mix as well which give it a contradictory tone in places.  The song is well played, it has a little more energy than other tracks on this release and ends it on a high spot.

Overall this is a very accomplished release which is a good introduction to this band, it is well played and sounds as if the band have invested a lot of time in this set of tunes.  I like the way they sound as it can be put on whenever things are feeling too much.  If there is one thing that is needed, maybe a change in speed between songs would have worked better; but it does not really change the outcome of the EP.  I have no idea when the release date of this EP is, but if you are into your alternative country it is worth checking out.

4 out of five - This is good, well worth checking out

Top track - Keep It Up

You can visit the Boroughs website here

You can follow the activities of Boroughs on Facebook here

At present this release is not on streaming services or available for purchase - once this has changed, I will amend this section

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