‘Fern and Leave’ by Rusty Boxx - the original distinctive essence remains(October 01, 2014)
There’s an axiom that goes ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ and although that primarily derives from mechanical circles it can apply equally to music. To continue the analogy for a while, tweak the ‘engine’ by all means, but don’t lose what you’ve got in a rush to move on. Indie folk quartet Rusty Boxx have a new release, a six-track EP called ‘Fern and Leave’ coming out at the end of October, and although they’ve certainly fine-tuned their sound the original distinctive essence remains. The slightly melancholy echoing vocals, tightly woven yet spatially-wide harmonies, meandering melodies and unmistakeable pastoral folk recollections are all there. Now, however, the sound is more controlled, the band tighter yet still expansive. There’s a slight but nagging doubt that some may find faint leanings towards an early Incredible String Band sound slightly out of time but many others will absorb this music with relish.
When I first wrote about the band I found ‘reminiscences of past-times’ seeping through their music. The same echo remains with ‘Fern and Leave’ but this is definitely music moving on, even within the confines of their peculiar and idiosyncratic style. The individualism shines through in songs such as the gentle warmth of ‘Runaways’, the evocative tale of ‘Her Envelopes’, and‘Bubble’, while the title track ‘Fern and Leave’ offers the best of this recording. ‘Fern and Leave’ releases on Oh Mercy Records on 30th October.
Rusty Boxx have a style that’s perhaps not for everyone but they do have a style in a world where there’s simply far too much that sounds the same as everything else. They are certainly delivering on the potential of their first EP – where to now?
Reviewer: Dan Holland