What does June McDoom sound like?
Vintage folk recorded through modern day technology.
The review of June McDoom – June McDoom
Jamaican New Yorker June McDoom has leant into a lot of influences and ideas with her debut self-titled EP. Primarily a hazy, ethereal folk-driven collection of songs, one of its strengths is in how she mixes her sound palette with other genres to make music that shapeshifts carefully and thoughtfully.
The opening track ‘Babe, You Light Me Up’ is a great example of this. It places the focus on analogue and vintage digital recording. It’s an EP with soft textures, thin velvets and fluffy clouds. The guitars are smudged, the piano distant, the jingles and bells glassy and the drums treated with a boomy echo like they’re slightly blowing out the speaker. Then from a shuffling beat, the track breaks free into something more uptempo and striding for the final two minutes. You almost don’t notice the transition as it feels so natural when housed in a vintage folk sound – its really clever.
It’s the vintage sound that steals the show throughout the EP. ‘Piano Song’ is a delightfully twangy number with piano, toy piano, delicately plucked guitars and glassy percussion interweaved like a tapestry. As a listener, it is like a sea of instruments rather than a standout of something. This gauze-like recording makes effortlessly twee 70s folk number ‘On My Way’ sound like a bird of paradise. June McDoom has such a smooth and gentle voice that has been fluffed and softened through the production beautifully. Again, it is like a trip to 1971. Voices become theremin instruments for the eerie beauty of ‘Stone After Stone’. Add in birdsong, some tape chewing and in-room hiss that is omnipresent throughout the EP and you have something beautiful. Closer ‘By June’ mixes in early soul influences too. You can hear the influence throughout but it’s crystal clear here with the minimal organs bleeding out across soulful beats.
Whilst June McDoom has clearly found a texture and vibe that sells her writing style, one thing that does take a few listens to really click with is the hook. The hook for each song is there but June is in no hurry to get you there. It’s like the entire EP is shrouded in fog and those moments of clarity are when the hook or bridges hit. I personally enjoy this when it is set up well like June does here but others may take a few listens to really connect with the melodies over the vibe. This vintage folk vibe absolutely works a treat with June McDoom and her songwriting though. I feel transported back in time whilst enjoying a new sound and that’s no easy achievement.
Recommended track: Stone After Stone
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