1. Land Of Brothers
2. Million Brave Heroes
3. I Feel Good
4. Come Back Home
5. Down's Up
This six track EP from Normandy based Indie trio Breaky Boxes combines Rock-like vocals with Folk-esque instrumentals, using a variety of string instruments to create a traditional Irish Folk sound, whilst using synthesisers and keyboard to give the EP a somewhat modern flare. The release generates a wide number of emotions throughout its six tracks.
The opening track “Land Of Brothers” is more at the traditionalist Folk end of this EP. The use of the tambourines, combined with the mandolin’s gentle sound creates a rich and evocative song, reminiscent of both Classic Rock and the traditional Irish folk it draws influence from. The feeling of hope and unity is rammed home by the use of traditional folk instruments. “Land Of Brothers” is an excellent opener, and one that perfectly displays Breaky Bones’ talents as musicians.
The following song, “Million Brave Heroes” follows, and has a much gentler and calmer tone. The heavy use of the harmonica makes “Million Brave Heroes” feel very nostalgic, and further adds to the vintage Americana vibe that “From The Shelter” builds. The song’s message about remembering and appreciating history is an uplifting one, and one that the song expresses beautifully.
The third track is the much more minimalist “I Feel Good”, which uses a guitar and a synthesiser to create a wonderfully optimistic piece about perseverance and “looking on the bright side”. This sticks out as the highlight of the EP, and feels totally justified as a single in its own right.
Next is the louder, more up-tempo “Come Back Home”, which provides a positively uplifting vibe to contrast the more melancholic tone of “Million Brave Heroes”. The use of string instruments alongside the synthesiser reflects how traditional Folk music is adapting to survive in the modern musical landscape. However, as compared to the previous three songs, the lyrics feel somewhat unadventurous, which is a shame considering the quality of the instrumental music.
Track five is the more subtle “Down’s Up”, which moves away from the use of traditional string instruments and sees a more involved use of the keyboard and synthesisers, displaying a whole different side of “Breaky Bones” musical ability. This shows their adaptability towards other subgenres within Folk Rock, making “From the Shelter” an even more promising debut EP.
Finally, we have the aptly named “Farewell” to close the release. The synthesiser is used in a gloomier context for this song. This is a wonderful closer, feeling more melancholic and mature than the rest of the songs. The louder vocals as well as the use of backing singers makes this song feel very reminiscent of Arcade Fire’s “Funeral”, which is never a bad thing. Overall, I would consider this song to be the best after “I Feel Good”.
Overall, although at times “From The Shelter” feels like a band finding their feet, I would recommend it, both to seasoned Folk listeners and to people newer to the genre. Although nothing particularly new or innovative, Breaky Boxes succeed in creating a deeply promising debut release, and one that makes their future as a band feel deeply optimistic.
Website - www.breakyboxes.com
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/BreakyBoxes/
Review - Jamie Forcer