Indie folk man Good Good Blood has had a steady output of several EP’s and an album over the last two years and this year see’s the release of Old Mountain, the latest EP. Good Good Blood is the moniker for James Smith, and his Northern England roots shine through with his unusual vocal production which makes his music stand out. James uses his voice with an echo and a layering technique that makes it sound like it’s heavily synthesized and a bit trippy and with his Northern roots, his voice is also quite indie rock gruff. The result is something that sounds rough and silky smooth at the same time and its trademark sound is great as it draws you in over time.
The title track is a short acapella piece that showcases that vocal production before “Bury Heads” kicks off the folksy rock troupe. Laid back guitar riffs lay under the calming siren of the vocals and the track slowly builds up to its chirpy second half. It uses a really muted brass arrangement that sounds like everyone was told to blow as quietly as possible. It makes the second half of the track actually quite cute in its own way, but also bubbly in an ethereal way. Those ethereal tones carry through to “Cannot Be Yours Forever” with echoing drums, simple acoustic guitars and childlike piano. It’s deliberately monotone in places and it really reminds me of the band Tunng and their penchant of unusual song structures and riffs. “Seven Seconds” is a great ballad that is really busy with its guitar layering. You have a simple bass and guitar motif underpinning the chords but there’s an electric guitar solo carefully plucking its way full of reverb over the top. At no point does the song feel like a ballad, but it totally is and I love that. The EP ends with “Glass Sky” is a twisted glassy synth slow-motion piece with guest vocals from Lauren Walker who sounds like a baby Blondie with all the effects added on.
Good Good Blood’s output is vast and fast and this EP is probably the most ethereal and ambient-folk driven of them all to date, so for new fans, I’d probably recommend starting off somewhere else (Heart Land is the most straightforward EP to begin with perhaps) but fans of the band, or of more out there folksters like Tunng, would absolutely lap this release up.
Recommended track: Seven Seconds
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