For me to make an exception to review an EP, it has to be amazing. I mean, it has to take my breath away when I click on the first track and have my jaw on the floor til the end. That was essentially my reaction to The Cadbury Sisters’ Barefoot EP, which I stumbled upon on bandcamp. What a wonderful stumble.
To say that these sisters have good harmonies would be a remarkable understatement. They are incredible. They are honestly some of the best vocalists I’ve heard in years. They hold tight harmonies. Their adorable British accents just make it all the more enjoyable. Their overall style holds to a pattern loosely described as folk, but they do a sort of timeless acoustic music that has the potential to keep them interesting and relevant for many years.
From the first chords of “Barefoot” these ladies mean business. Their chords are tight and remain so throughout the song. With a gorgeous vocal “ooh” to bring us into the album, the immediate sweet accent becomes evident. It feels comfortable. The sisters take turns on the verses, bringing their harmonies together for the chorus. Fundamentally it’s a song about loving a man who is acting immature. The songwriter knew this man, but feels like she doesn’t anymore.
“Animals” is the least sophisticated on the album, but it is the most “raw.” The guitar playing is intricate and the opening vocal reeks of sincerity. This is a song about lust more than love. “Let desire have its way and like a hungry wolf I’ll stay.” The repetitive “if we were animals” reminds me of a song of a much harder style. In some ways, this song smacks of an “acoustic” version of a metal song. In fact, on the off chance that a metal band actually reads this review, cover this song and we’ll post it.
“Little Voice” is the best track on the album. It has the best vocal blending of any song on an album that specializes in such things. It makes my shortlist for song of the year because of it’s truly remarkable blending. It’s also an emotionally charged song. “I don’t ask forgiveness or repent my sins. I won’t read your book. I won’t change how I think. Why am I numb to your love?” I won’t make any guesses to the purpose or message of the song, but “forget me oh father you see what I am… if you cannot change me then nobody can.” I’d dare say it’s theological. I’d love to talk to the songwriter on this one, for sure. What an incredible piece of writing. It enraptures.
The penultimate track “At Least for Me” is quintessential Cadbury Sisters. It captures their beautiful vocal blending. The song embodies their minimalist folk sound almost perfectly. The precision on the lead vocals is, as usual, extremely well done. It’s a breakup song that does an good job of wrestling with the emotions of separation. “Our song ended many months ago at least for me anyway… I think he heard a different melody…” Now that’s a metaphor we can understand!
The takeaway from this review is that this is a must-hear for folk music fans. It’s not the toe-tappin’ Mumford or Lumineers style, but it’s full and subtle sound more appropriate for a coffeeshop than a big music hall. Stop by their bandcamp page, buy the album, and show them some love.