[30 August 2011]
The New Familiars are a four-piece that uses a range of mostly-acoustic instruments to create music imbued with rock ‘n’ roll energy. Opener “Icarus” marries Mick Jagger-esque vocals with scratchy guitars and shimmering mandolin accents, while “Smile” utilizes pedal steel to good effect. There’s an abundance of sonic variety here, thanks to guest musicians providing notes of banjo, violin, melodica and horns. Somehow it all comes together, although many songs are less than memorable even after repeated listenings. “Macadam Glaze” is an exception, with its breathy vocals and rumbling percussion, and “All in All” has some nifty moments of what sounds like slide banjo. Too many tunes, though, are mid-tempo country-folkie-rockers that pass by without making an impression.