Thing of the Day

The Border Surrender 

June 1st 2011

North London’s alt.folk flavoured, Americana seasoned quartet The Border Surrender are happy to wear their influences brightly on their sleeves for their new four track EP Lean Season… 

The Border SurrenderTHE BORDER SURRENDER – Lean Season (Smoky Carrot) – A North London quartet of a band with a blues flavoured folk-meets-alt country, Celtic-meets-Americana feel to their euphorically big sound. Bit of a Waterboys feel to all this actually, both in terms of voice and uplifting songs; maybe not quite the song writing quality of Mike Scott and his band. but then who has? 

This is good, two of the four songs here are very fine indeed: Mariner’s Wife is the real standout with that constant state of happiness they sing of. Actually, make that three of the four songs, last one has a Southern gospel blues feel. Opening track If You Pass Me By might not be quite as strong as the other three, still rather good though. The lead track is usually the one that gets the media exposure, the radio play and such, and it is a good song, but don’t judge them by it - The Border Surrender have better ones here waiting for you. They say they take a pride on wearing their influences boldly on their collective sleeves, they say that each of the four songs intentionally represents one of their influences, so that goes some way to explaining why their sound was a little difficult to pin point (there's our policy of never reading press releases until the music has done the talking once more). They talk of Black Keys and Nick Cave; far more joyous than most things Nick Cave is involved in, though. Mariner’s Wife is joyously gorgeous pop-driven folk song that never tires… 

The contradictions are comfortable, the (slightly) different style of each song does make sense once you tune into what they’re doing on the EP, especially when you’ve been playing the thing on and off for a few weeks and the songs have started to become familiar enough that you catch yourself singing them at the bus stop or some such place. They’re entirely British so we’re told - alongside the talk of Keys and Cave, they happily namedrop Buffalo Springfield, The Band and Neil Young, and there’s surely a strong case for a mention of those Drive-by Truckers alongside the Fisherman’s Blues warmth of What Happened At The Estuary

Something good happening here, a little more than just a band with a healthy set of influences, a band with some obvious qualities all of their own, a band doing playing with the same ideas that quite a few others are toying with around London town right now, a band who stand out a little… 

The Border Surrender’s Lean Season EP is out on June 6th, they have a London launch gig at the Wilmington on June 7th.     

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