Sutherland, Joburg’s latest indie-folk 3-piece to begin to make a name for themselves, dropped their debut EP ‘The Invisible’ a couple of weeks ago. Recorded and produced at High Seas Studio with Jacques Du Plessis and Adrian Erasmus, the band has come pretty far since their inception in 2013, building a firm local following and securing themselves a debut slot at Oppikoppi this year.
The 6-track EP is delicately bouncy, run through with constant tinkling undertones of piano, acoustic guitar and the occasional appearance of the tambourine. Their echoing melodies compliment the smooth, melodic vocals to create a full, well-produced sound.
Sutherland’s overall sound is an unusual blend of upbeat, chiming tunes, slightly dulled by a melancholic undercurrent. While it gets your foot tapping, it is not always what you would hail as cheerful music. Setting them apart from mindlessly upbeat bands, this unusual undercurrent adds a certain sincerity and seriousness to their songs.
The prevailing tinkling element which is dominant in most of the songs on the EP is offset now and then with blunted guitar and fantastic percussive interspersions. Strange offbeat moments are also scattered here and there throughout, which, while it is clearly meant to be intentional, tend to be a little too random, giving the impression that they are in fact mistakes.
‘The Great Escape’ begins with a bizarre blunted beat followed a dramatic piano and guitar sequence, allowing a brief glimpse into the heavier side of their music. The heavy intro is, however, quickly cast aside by their characteristically bouncy tunes which swiftly follow thereafter.
The vocals tend to lean towards the repetitive side with little in the way of harmonies or unusual vocal progressions. It is vitally important to balance instrumental and vocal elements in a song and Sutherland fall just short of the target needed. Lyrically however, the EP is wonderful, soaked in poetic phrases and carefully portrayed situations.
A delightful blend of contrasting sounds and emotions, “The Invisible” is sure to get your feet moving to its uplifting, introspective tunes in no time.
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Listen to ‘”The Invisible” on Deezer below.