Alana Henderson’s debut EP is a strong statement of intent. These dark folk songs are dominated by her powerful, nuanced cello playing and clear voice, with an able supporting cast complimenting each dramatic stroke with subtle harmonic flicks, background croons and interpretive percussion. It’s a beautifully organic sound, one which should appeal more to followers of the US indie end of the folk spectrum than to Mumford devotees.
The opening title track is a thing of wonder, immediate and striking but revealing more of itself with every listen. Henderson’s confident cello stabs take centre stage, plucking, swooning and swelling round each clever lyrical twist. The band does a sterling job colouring in round the edges, craftily augmenting the central melody with varied flicks and tricks that snag the subconscious, daring the listener not to play the whole damn track again. It’s worth resisting the urge to skip back to the start though, as the other three cuts have plenty to offer.
‘The Tower’ is shorter than its bedfellows, featuring a stomping beat and jaunty string work over wry observations on a relationship gone askew. ‘Song About A Song’ shuffles along on plucked strings, its sweet tune providing a nice counterpoint to some introspective and self-effacing lyrics, before woozy strings give way to minor chord plucking and black harmonies on closing lament ‘Two Turtle Doves’. Overall, Wax And Wane is an immensely promising first effort, which marks Alana Henderson out as one to watch. Lee Gorman
Self-released | http://alanahenderson.bandcamp.com/