To many people, country music has a bad name. Folks don’t like to admit to liking it most of the time. But it has a strong influence in the folk revival that has cheered us all in recent times, so this would seem to the moment for a heavily country-influenced band to make their move. Can Common Tongues be that band? The panel take a listen…
Anna Mellor: Mixing folk and southern American bluegrass influences, the Common Tongues first myspace track Our Embers is an incredibly energised song, the violin part is especially strong. The second track, Solitary Thinker, begins with some rather stunning Mumford-style vocals and the whole song is beautifully relaxed, offering a nice contrast to the first track. A promising start for a band that would fit nicely with the new folk scene at the moment, they have already played Communion and Club NME so hopefully there will be much more to come from Common Tongues.
Ian Parker: Common Tongues come from the deep south…of England, that is. But while they hail from Brighton, Sussex, they sound like they could just as easily come from the city of Brighton in Jefferson County, Alabama. The five-piece say they are all influenced by the records their dads listened to while they were growing up, which must mean they are all descended from members of Sussex’s Country Music Appreciation Society. They’re not yet giving us much to go on – their myspace page features just two songs which in total clock in at barely over six minutes. But what they have produced is exciting enough, writing two catchy tunes with enough country influence to make them stand out from the pack.
Alice Sage: Just the idea of a folk/bluegrass Brighton five-piece makes me quite happy. There are touches of more successful acts (Zutons, etc) but they pretty much hold their own – I put that down to a really rural just-messing-about looseness to the sound. I’ll say they have lovely lyrics – not spectacular, but lovely. However, I’d want to hear more to get a proper sense of their style, as the two tracks available are very different (shoutish, upbeat Our Embers being my favourite). Musically, they are complex and energetic enough to probably make a fantastic live band (their track record of festivals seems to back this up) – even when stripped down to a small-venue three-piece. But I’ll wait and see before I make up my mind.
Check out Common Tongues for yourself on their myspace page here.