Cherbourg - Into The Dark (Chess Club)
Anthony Cody | Monday, 18 May 2009
Sophisticated folk is the best way to describe Cherbourg's style. The band is based in London, therefore the lyrics are less rustic than typical folk. Instead, they focus on love, loss and fine line between the two. Their melodies are sophisticated and their musicianship is polished.
Their sound is very close to fellow troubadours Mumford and Sons. These two bands appear to be carrying the torch for the underground folk movement at the moment, and they are doing a fine job of it.
'Man' is the standout track on the EP, providing a rollicking, anthemic chorus in a song that shifts tempo, dynamic and tone to startling effect. Lines like "This time I'm a man, am I?/The colder of two bitter hearts" and "This hourglass sits on me/It holds me down/I'll stand my ground" are considered and poignant, without feeling over-cooked at any point. The lyrics bristle with humility and humanity, and are incredibly rewarding every time you analyse the track.
'Goldmine' has a similar anthemic feel to it, although it is rather one-dimensional and whilst it is an easy listen, it is rather too reminiscent of one of those Snow Patrol/Coldplay-esque 'crowd-pleasers' which are rather forgettable and superficial. 'Let Yourself Love' is better. The production on this track is superb, as is the musical composition. In addition to the fine vocals, the melancholic guitar wails with desperation and heartache.
Musically and lyrically, this group is accomplished. However, their songs can drag a little because of their sombre mood and final track 'Shine' feels a little like an afterthought. If you are looking for light, upbeat music then look somewhere else. If you are looking for a thoughtful band with folk sympathies, then Cherbourg will fill that role - and 'Man' is one of the standout tracks of the year so far.
The band has now produced two polished and interesting EPs, brimming with talent and passion. Now it is time to start putting together the debut album, which is undoubtedly a much harder task but one which Cherbourg has the skills to carry out.
The band is a Jools Holland appearance away from breaking into the public consciousness. Expect a call from the BBC soon, guys...