Heart of a Home is the debut album from London based seven-piece contemporary folk band The Medlars. Boasting seven lengthy tracks it sits somewhere between an album and an EP, but no matter what way you look at it; it is an incredible introduction to their work.
The Medlars are the embodiment of a very stripped back form of folk music. There is something somewhat rustic in the delivery of their songs that makes their music feel homely and friendly, like an inviting fire in a pub on a dark winters evening. These unpolished songs still seem rough around the edges; raw and natural, like carvings being done before your very eyes you can hear their songs adapting and taking form around you. Hearing their immersive songs such as Fly the Wheel you are reminded of the early days of Bellowhead. They are a band of musicians who are playful, enjoy the art of old folk songs but who like striking a rich contemporary, often almost psychedelic vein into them. They burst to life with fiddles and flutes, banjos and base – mandolins mix with brass in a swirling myriad of sound that is lead by the sturdy banjo pickings of Jimmy Grayburn.
The raw nature of The Medlars sound and the traditional folk instruments they play makes it seem as if they have taken a series of complex tunes but whittled and stripped them back to a more simple time. It is as though they have gone back to try and find the heart of folk music and then built themselves around it. They breathe fresh life into the folk genre as they draw influences from across the globe such as the title track Heart of a Home who echoes combinations of traditional English folk music as well as edging the sound into a somewhat Indian territory. The amalgamated results of these blends is a series of tunes that are peaceful but refreshing and invigorating. The band themselves are lead by the rolling vocals of Grayburn which seem as natural and calming as the ground itself. His comforting voice helps to make some of the overlooked problems in the world such as homelessness somehow more palatable and helps shine a light into the darkness that others don’t acknowledge. However, as warming as Grayburn’s vocals are, it is when the band unleash and fully harmonise themselves that they are at their finest. Their tender and earnest voices float together with their almost psychedelic sounds to bring something new and exciting to life.
The Medlars might be new on the scene but they definitely don’t play like it – they bring their songs to life with a grace and beauty that has a timeless quality to it, evocative of starry nights and windswept hills. Unique and impressive, they are clearly a band to watch.
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Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/the_medlars/ Review by Joe Knipe