Indie-folk seems to be the genre du jour, and with artists such as FLEET FOXES, MUMFORD & SONS, and LAURA MARLING garnering widespread critical acclaim, many artists are deciding to pick up the banjo and give it a go. The result of this is that the genre already feels slightly ‘done’; it’s very hard to bring something new to the game. Dallas – based OLD BANNERS might not be bringing anything radically new to the genre, but that doesn’t stop their self titled debut album being a very pleasant listen.

The album starts of in a pretty familiar way : the opening track, “Morning Waltz”, seems to set the stage for a slice of nostalgic, Old-School Americana, and this is true to a certain extent; tracks such as “2nd Gnome Eats Free” and “If He Could, Why?” immediately conjur up images of a lazy summer day spent messing about on the ol’ river (quite a feat, as I was listening to the album in the perpetually cold and rainy Manchester, UK). Yet as the album progresses, the listener soon begins to realise that this album is not all sweetness and light; you get the feeling that the inspiration behind the lyrics of songs such as “Narrow Escapes” and “A Fisherman’s Tale” stems from personal hardships, and the strings-and-accordion combo in “A Fisherman’s Tale” are especially stirring when paired with the morbid lyrics.

Despite “I Dream Alone” sounding oddly like VANESSA CARLTON’s ”A Thousand Miles”, there’s very little negative I can say about this album. It is not groundbreaking by any means, but that is not the point. On their official website, we are told that the band’s goal is “to create positive impacts in the listener’s life”, and in my case, they certainly achieved it. Their music felt almost like escapism; it transported me from rainy Manchester to the sunny Deep South, from itchy pyjamas to comfy dungarees, from a fiance playing Call of Duty loudly in the next room to a peaceful, solitary river where I am at one with nature. Okay, I’m going a little over the top here maybe, but the fact that this album affected me so positively more than makes up for its lack of originality. A thoroughly enjoyable listen.

Listen to their song “A Fisherman’s Tale” to get a taste of their sound:

 

Complete Track Listing:
1. Morning Waltz
2. 2nd Gnome Eats For Free
3. Suspended In Self
4. Narrow Escapes
5. If He Could, Why?
6. A Fisherman’s Tale
7. I Dream Alone
8.As A Crow Flies
9. Banners and Ceilings
10. Resentments of the North
11. Mountain Psalm