For the life of me, I can’t place specifically what the first song on The Hand in the Ocean‘s new EP reminds me of. The moment I started listening to “Road To I Am,” it felt like something familiar, in a very satisfying way. And it probably goes without saying that there is a banjo (because we all know how satisfied those things make me).
We Fished All Night and Caught the Day is a brief and impressive introduction from this Midwest trio. Lively yet subdued, the four-song EP pulls roots straight from the soil of Appalachian tradition and strings them onto their instruments. Best of all is the way their parts complement one another, banjo ceremoniously marries with acoustic guitar on every tune, while vocalist Nate Tapling’s voice comes tuned with the same tight-stringed, metallic quality of the banjo itself. Driven with a modest growl, his vocals deepen the authentic sound of the music, to the point where you picture the band playing these songs on the porch of an old waning cabin in the hills, adorned in matted beards and overalls loosely hanging over their union suits. But I guess plaid shirts in a basement works, too.