Setting off to explore an old town, wandering through a misty forest, sitting around a crackling campfire. If these activities sound appealing to you, chances are you’ll enjoy the folk-infused indie-rock sound of Okies’ new EP Once A Fisherman From Spain.
Lasting approximately 14 minutes, the band’s new four-track EP is fairly short, but none of it goes to waste as the group effectively showcases their original take on the folk-rock genre that has been rising in popularity in recent years.
By skillfully combining Marc-Antoine Moisan’s unique vocals and tasteful guitar progressions, Sam Gendron’s atmospheric synths, Thomas Aguinaga’s driving drums and new recruit Phil Goodman’s talents as a multi-instrumentalist, Okies are able to craft compelling songs that are sure to keep you humming long after a listen.
The way all these different elements are juxtaposed within Okies’ compositions is definitely one of this album’s strong points. Instead of sticking to rigid and overly-repetitive song structures, the band is able to mix things up and offer songs that feel like progressions–just like a well-crafted story.
Fuelling the instrumentation and hybrid song-structure, the lyrical content itself adds another important layer. Written by drummer Thomas Aguinaga, the lyrics tell stories of old towns and characters with mysterious tales and motivations which really reinforce the folk elements of the songs.
The closing track St-Aug (Townie) is a perfect example of this, as the narrative set up by the lyrics is mirrored by the controlled intensity of the group’s musical phrasing.
Making his Okies record debut, newest member Phil Goodman has made his mark on Once A Fisherman From Spain. With his addition to the group, layered vocal harmonies and musical arrangements that weren’t previously possible when Okies were a three-piece are now attainable.
His presence is felt throughout the album, specifically on tracks Hondarribia and Alexandria, where the vocal harmonies between him and Moisan play an integral role.
Although Goodman’s addition provides the group with more options, the band still relies on their simple-yet-effective bare-bones method of songwriting. The track Edmonton is a great example of this, as a large part of the song relies on Moisan’s distinctive vocals and his ability to play captivating clean-guitar patterns.
Overall, Once A Fisherman From Spain truly feels like a complete musical experience despite its short length. By combining a multitude of elements, yet still maintaining a certain simplicity and cohesiveness, Okies and their unique sound are a breath of fresh air in an otherwise oversaturated genre.
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