The Toothe | Talons EP (S/R)

toothe 75It’s a fresh twist on folk with an energetic edge.

Folk isn’t usually a genre I’d peg as exciting. I don’t mean that to be insulting, but most mainstream folk has a reputation for solemn acoustic ballads and scraggly beards. But we’re not exactly talking about the mainstream when considering Asheville, NC three-piece The Toothe. The group has released their previous music under the title John Wilkes Boothe and The Black Toothe. And while there are still beards (whew), a nice blend of originality and surprise make Talons EP worth checking out.

It’s a little difficult to pin what genre these songs want to be. Folk-pop is closest to putting a name to it. Whatever it is, it works to their advantage. It’s a fresh twist on folk with an energetic edge. The lyrics are worth noting too, seemingly unconventional compared to a lot of folk music I’ve heard. “I’m so sorry I splattered mustard on your leotard.” There’s nothing wrong with writing a song about mustard stains; I commend the creativity. It also mirrors the uplifting vibe the whole EP radiates, which is strange due to some of the underlying lyrical sorrow.

The only track available at the time of this writing is “Mustard,” but I assure you the EP holds much in store beyond that track. “Husk” is a dark and witty journey that somehow comes off as pleasant, an easy favorite of mine from the bunch. Each song on the EP brings its own energy and flavor to the mix with uncanny cohesion.

If the band’s 2011 album made a splash, then this release is going to make waves. Talons EP is easy listening, a no-pressure opportunity to simply enjoy the music. It does this while adding some atypical influences to make us rethink our own ideas of what folk can be. I’ve never been to Asheville, but I hope it’s just as interesting to take in. Talons EP will be available June 16 via S/R records. B- | Alex Wilking

Standout Tracks – Husk, Winedark

RIYL – Violent Femmes, The Avett Brothers

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