Small Black Arrows – The Wave (2021)

Small Black Arrows are bringing their experimental folk sound to their debut EP The Wave. Bringing a fondness of their working-class upbringing to deep discussions about the effect society has on our sense of self, they forge a unique and intriguing sound. While diving into deep topics, the EP also brings sentimental reflections and the thrill of a first love.

The unique folk sound comes from Like Bailey and Jimmy Hanley who became friends through the thriving pre-covid Manchester music scene. With a passion for their sound and DIY crafting, they merged their styles for something utterly them. Drawing on their experience in both music and acting, they bring innovation to modern folk while adding a splash of pop and rock to the mix.

The EP opens with the title track ‘The Wave’ and the gentle strains of an acoustic guitar. The lightness of the track washes over you like the roll of fog down the beach on a cloudy day. The vocals are as gentle as the music and pull you into the lull of the movement. There is a delightful harmonisation that adds depth to the track before the vocals evaporate into the acoustic guitar. It is a very relaxing track that holds a lot of power in the vocals and the incredibly poetic lyrics. This is a wonderful introduction to the EP and the sound of the duo as it makes you want to close your eyes and sink into the sound.

‘Pathway to Contrition’ continues the delicate touch of the last track, but there is something a little more grounded about the sound. The stripped-back melody allows the vocals to really shine as they tenderly caress your ears. Together, they form this rich and plush soundscape that offers a light warmth. Through the track, you do feel that there is a struggle happening but this can be overcome if we are true to ourselves. The rising roll of the music meets the vocals to give you that gentle push you need to find your inner strength. There really is something about this track that puts a smile on your face and just cements the band’s place on your favourite folk playlist.

The EP comes to an end with ‘Cherophobia’ which offers a more textured opening line. The layers of melodic elements are like a blossoming field washed by a breeze in the pale spring sun. The higher vocal line that enters enhances this rather serene image and makes you want to fall back into the grass to just enjoy the music. As the track progresses, the music has a swaying arrangement that has you breathing easily and feeling a delicate happiness. While there is a wonderfully light and happy vibe to the track, the vocals lead you through sad experiences and the strength they provide. It is an interesting contrast that adds power to the track and makes it the ideal way to bring this EP to an end.

Small Black Arrows fill you with tender folk tones as they work through deep topics and pure light in the tender tones of their EP The Wave. The touchingly light tones of the tracks fill you with an inner peace that allows the depths of the vocals to hit home. Through the tracks, the duo carves a place for them in your list of favourite folk bands while making you yearn for more.

Find out more about Small Black Arrows on their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Spotify.

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