Sons Of The East
The EP starts off with Miramere – a catchy song with a medium tempo and a kick drum driving bounce. It’s a nice way to start out with a feel good track that makes you want to nod your head a little bit. The style of picking is pretty traditional for this kind of singer/songwriter and folk music, so there isn’t anything particularly fresh in this track that I haven’t heard from similar artists like Peter Bradley Adams.
Moving onto the next track takes this whole EP in a totally different direction that really gives a pulse and identity to this group. Come Away starts out with a simple chord progression with a tempo and aura reminiscent of artists like Gregory Alan Isakov (one of my all time favorites) that has a delicate piano line layered on top, a beautiful sounding harmonica, an accompanying banjo, and very soft Bob Dylan like vocals from Nic Johnston. Ending this record is California, another sunshine-y day anthem with a bouncing chord progression that stays in a higher key, along with an accompanying banjo. On the topic of instrumental diversity, this song actually has a didgeridoo in the chorus, which is something I had never heard a singer/songwriter group do up until this point.
Sons Of the East has been praised for exploring the realm of folk music and integrating their own Australian culture into this EP. While I appreciate the novelty of certain instruments used, I don’t think this group incorporates anything groundbreaking that hasn’t been done by bands like Margaret and the Nuclear So and So’s. I think the singer/songwriter genre is a little oversaturated with recycled styles, hooks, and guitars. When someone or a group strives to reach farther to create a more comprehensive sound, then they have made at least a half decent effort in my book. Often times, I have seen some of the same influences come through in many artists in this genre that include legends like Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, and Eric Clapton. Sons of the East are no exception. On Come Away and California, you can hear Nic Johnston channel his inner Bob Dylan with soft-spoken and denunciated vocals. In addition, I would consider Sons understudies of Mumford and Sons with the way hat throughout this EP you can hear a lot of harmonies from the other two members behind Johnston.