As much as it pains me to say it, folk-pop doesn’t have the greatest of reputations. At times it has the tendency to be so boring that it could almost be used as a cure for insomnia. Other times it can become so cutesy, that listening to it can feel like you’ve just eaten a few too many cupcakes. Brisbane five piece Charlie Mayfair manage to avoid both these problems on their debut EP Watch My Hands.
Since forming just six months ago, they have shared the stage with the likes of Skipping Girl Vinegar, Montpelier, and Iceland’s Svavar Knutur and judging from Watch My Hands, it’s easy to see why. Combining male and female vocals, three-part harmonies and memorable music, they have a winning formula that could make even the Grinch crack a smile.
Title track Watch My Hands is a perfect introduction to the band, despite sounding very different to the other tracks on the EP. Featuring delicate male and female harmonies, it wouldn’t seem out of place on a film soundtrack. While the build-up doesn’t really reach the heights that it potentially could, the song is so pretty that it’s hardly a problem. Sing Me To Sleep almost sounds like a salsa song, with rhythmic guitar and a great use of horns. While the harmonies are mostly absent, the use of a singular female vocalist stops them from being overused and suits the track very well. It isn’t what you would expect on this kind of release, but fits in surprisingly well with the rest of the tracks.
If radio had any sense they would be all over the EP’s single Run. Although the more conventional instrumentation makes it the least interesting track on the EP, it’s a sweet, catchy love song that sounds very much like something Skipping Girl Vinegar would approve of. If I Fall Down makes great use of male and female vocals and has a bit of an alt-country vibe going on, keeping the EP interesting. Please Stay is a slow duet that showcases the chemistry between singers Dave Di Marco and Anna Shepherd and is a great way to end the EP.
Watch My Hands would be an accomplished EP for a band who has been around for a few years, let alone a few months. Judging from this release, there’s no doubt that we’ll be hearing some pretty amazing stuff from Charlie Mayfair in the future