New Bands Panel | Mt. Wolf – Life Sized Ghosts

This week it’s the turn of electronic-folk upstarts Mt. Wolf to go under the folk microscope. Based in London, each member was born by the sea, on the coasts of Guernsey, Dorset and Brighton. Prepare to get swept away….

Joanne Rowe: Hailing from separate shores and coasts of England and now nesting in foggy London town, Mt. Wolf could be the definition of “folktronica”. The dreamlike sound of the group is reminiscent of electronic groups like Little Dragon and Youth Lagoon, while the vocals, from classically trained violinist Kate Sproule, compare to the tone of Florence Welsh and fit perfectly to the female lead electronica sound.

The band have supported electronic prince James Blake and it’s easy to imagine the two artist’s sounds on the same stage, with Blake’s dark and mysterious repetition and Mt Wolf’s dreamy trance like tracks- I’d suggest doing some rhythmical breathing to these contemporary ambient sounds.

Their new EP, Life Sized Ghosts, features a wonderfully organic live version of the title track, which is a treat at the end of the heavily electronically weighted EP.  The whole sound of Life Sized Ghosts would not be out of place in a dystopian future- you can certainly tell how heavily the sound is influenced by the seas which surround England. There is a certain wave like quality, which resonates as if we’re hearing the music from inside a seashell.

I’d suggest this “folktronica” group for those who are fans of Bon Iver’s more electronic tracks or for those folk fans who just need some kind of ambient sound to relax to. This calm-mood enhancing band is one to watch on the scene. They leave me wondering which way they’ll bend to in the future. Will they find their niche in “folktronica”? Or will they sway one way or the other?

Rosy Ross: Wow. This EP has ticked all my boxes for a bright new band and more- every song is pristine and sounds great. The eponymous Life Size Ghosts in particular is epic and otherworldly – I’m about to make comparisons here, which don’t ever really do either parties justice when they’re good, but here we go – it’s sort of channelling Kate Bush, in that Kate Sproule’s voice is a similarly lush yet icy soprano, and the lyrics bring us to the edge of things that are more sensed than seen. However, the neck-tingling rumble of bass, confident drums and an exotic backdrop of synth sounds bring the song right up to its own multifaceted place in the present day.

The whole EP is a gorgeous mix of far-flung influences that really works; you’ll recognise the dreamy electronica sound that has captured the imagination of a fair few bands at the moment – but the guitar riffs are always clear and clean, and with the voice they often take the lead, as in more traditional arrangements.

Their sound is being called ‘electronic folk’ – a melding of old and new styles and instrumentation that made me think of Fairport Convention, Pentangle and other bands who were the first to play old folk songs with electric instruments. Mt. Wolf have made another great leap, bringing the folk sensibility into musical styles of the city, more often heard in clubs than village halls. It’s very exciting.

We want to know what you think too- have a listen and thoughts on Twitter to @forfolkssake please! Catch them live at Corsica Studios in London on the 30th October for the launch of the EP.