- Record Label
- Smoky Carrot Records
About this item
Following on from the remarkable and gloriously haunting single “Oh Mary”, The Border Surrender return with their second EP “Lean Season”. Having firmly established themselves in amongst the fray of the UK’s most exciting new acts, the North London quartet demonstrate their remarkable ability to evolve and build upon their own foundations with this, a mesmerising recording that delicately drifts away from the earlier proclaimed tags of Americana Folk that were drawn upon on their debut EP, and shifts itself towards the other Southern state influences of Blues and Gospel. Released on Smoky Carrot Records, “Lean Season” places itself in the unusual territory of being not only technically comprehensive and steeped in heavily educated influences, but of also being filled with overwhelmingly anthemic choruses and masterful pop driven hooks.
Although utterly unique in their production and execution The Border Surrender, to a certain degree, take pride in wearing their influences on their combined sleeve. In fact, each of the four songs included on this record were specifically chosen to represent the different styles and genres that the quartet have drawn upon to create their sound. Opening the EP in magnificent style is the ethereal and euphoric melody of “If You Pass Me By”. Written with the sound of Springsteen’s Nebraska album in mind, but resulting in a more muscular full band sound that has drawn comparisons to The Arcade Fire, this composition is best described as experimental-country, and could be viewed as the centre piece to the entire EP. The lyrics follow the feelings of an unfortunate soul, who can only look on at people enjoying the spoils of success while he walks the streets with his memories of a grand dream that in hindsight and passing looks more like grand delusion. Whereas, the rallying, almost biblical, “Call To Prayer” and the wistful “What Happened at The Estuary” are gleefully infected with an honest Blues tint, which the band proclaim is largely due to a love of modern blues based artists such as The Black Keys and Nick Cave. However, sandwiched between in the middle, we can hear an audible difference in the approach to the more pop-driven folk sound of “The Mariners Wife” whose bouncing verse and joyful chorus sits in stark contrast to the lyrics of its two worn out subjects. These words recall a tale of a retired navy captain, who looks back on his life with a woman who he left his position to marry. She now lives under his shadow and has almost completely lost her own identity, being now constantly referred to as the Mariners wife rather than her own title. On listening to this superlative EP in its entirety, the complexities and comfortable contradictions of each recording truly find their way to the front and mark this out as a highly accomplished and poignant record; one which will no doubt dominate the listeners ear phones for quite a time to come.