Review: Villages – “Upon the Horizon EP” (2020)


Cape Breton indie folk group, Villages, release a follow up their acclaimed 2019 self-titled debut album with a three-song EP entitled Upon the Horizon”, a preview of their next full-length album due in 2021. The band were originally named Mardeen but having taken a more indie folk direction, changed their name to Villages, after an essay penned by Cape Breton illustrator Kate Beaton.

This extended play has a slightly different feel as the members of the band Matt Ellis, Travis Ellis, Jon Pearo and Archie Rankin had to work on ideas remotely due to the global pandemic. Singer Matt related “Being locked up naturally conjured visions of escapism. Escaping to the wilderness has always been a way to find peace, but when even that was not an option it was yet another thing that had been taken for granted.”

`Upon the Horizon` is a wonderfully uplifting song, imagining a trip to the beach for an overnight stay with friends. Matt Ellis has a delightful voice which seems to have a slight inflection at times. The creative lyrics including “up all night, I’ll build a fire and we’ll wade in water to the waist, wrapped up in the heat, we’re back on the beach” allows you to almost picture yourself there amongst them.

There`s more of a trippy feel to `Poetry in Motion` which presents an optimistic message that just because something you hoped for didn’t turn out, maybe fate has something better in mind. The subtle instrumentation of quietly shared drum, strummed mandolin, acoustic guitar, and tambourine allows the vocals a perfect platform to shine.

There`s a more anthemic feel to `Glistening Hum` with a shook tambourine and blistering mandolin leading us through at pace. An encouraging piece to lift one’s spirits in this difficult time. There certainly was a sparkle about this number.

There is something special about Villages, they are certainly talented musicians and have a singer that has a voice that is a gift. Their debut album passed me by for some reason but on the strength of this marvellous offering, i`m really looking forward to next year`s follow up.

Rating 9/10


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