A polished, well balanced blend of soft folk and country blues greets the ears on this five song EP from London based duo, Ferris and Sylvester. Their second EP release, ‘Made In Streatham’ sees Issy Ferris and Archie Sylvester demonstrate their excellent harmonising and precise instrumentals. It also displays how the pair work together to create a refreshing take on modern folk, while taking influence from music outside of their genre.
‘Made In Streatham’ opens strongly, the up tempo ‘Better in Yellow’ capturing the attention from the off. The vocals are strong while not overshadowing the fantastic use of instruments, and the guitar solo adds a bluesy touch to proceedings. The harmonies though are the focus here, a theme that continues throughout the EP. Neither Ferris nor Sylvester outshine the other, something that would be an easy mistake to make. Instead, the two voices perfectly match and lift each other, and it makes for very pleasant listening.
This is especially true of track two, ‘Sometimes’, a slower, more stripped back track with far less to hide behind. Both Ferris and Sylvester provide clean, crisp vocals and both get their individual moments here. The track has a dreamy, Simon and Garfunkel quality to it, and it is easy to spot the influence through the deep lyrics: “you don’t recognise yourself anymore, but you don’t like being told, but its part of growing old.”
The third song, The Room, lets Issy Ferris show off her excellent vocals, complemented by some welcome use of harmonica in the intro and a guitar riff that is hard to avoid nodding your head to. The chorus is slick and inviting, and represents some easy listening in the middle of the EP. The softer tones and continued instrumental prowess of fourth track ‘Loser’ also present the listener with another revelation: the EP is fantastically well balanced, the songs offering something new from the last, deliberately placed to get the most out of each track.
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The final offering, ‘London’s Blues’, is by far the stand out of the EP, and is arguably the track most likely to propel the duo into the mainstream. An undeniably bluesy number, it adds a heavy dose of southern American influence into the mix, and ends the EP on a high. The well placed brass instruments perfectly complement the high quality vocals of Ferris and Sylvester, who again get to explore their full range individually as well as through their tight harmonies. The finger clicking in the intro also makes for a new dynamic compared with previous songs, and it adds another layer to Ferris and Sylvester’s sound.
Overall, ‘Made In Streatham’ is an accomplished EP, laying the groundwork for a full LP through its smart use of instruments, coupled with strong vocals. The varied song types hint at the versatility of Ferris and Sylvester, and they clearly have a polished, distinctive sound. They feel fresh and new while still drawing much influence from 60’s folk. It is a recipe that works very well, and stands them in good stead for the future.
Made In Streatham is out now.