The only way I could describe this album to you would be to compare it to a salad. It’s fresh, it’s raw and it’s definitely good for you. Newport-born Joe Lewis released his EP Branches to the world wide web just under a month ago for a hefty price of nothing! That’s right, not only is Joe Lewis a talented kind of guy, he’s a generous one too.
Having listened to the album (which I repeat is free!) it’s easy to get a sense of his self-confessed “folk-esque” sound, much alike artists such as Mumford and Sons, minus the banjos. Each track reflects his ease of singing both in a husky growl and falsetto style, giving a little something for everyone. “Get it Right”, is a prime example of this. This little ditty exemplifies the simple riffs and simple acoustic chords that construct the majority of the album. Although that sounds like it should be an insult, contradictorily this is the strength of the music, giving way to harmonies and neatly placed backing vocals.
However, this gem of a track is a standout on the album, quite different to the more commercial sounds of “Branches” and “Goldmine”. Although they feature similar strumming patterns, they have a more up tempo, “dance around the barn yard with your moonshine” kind of sound. I’m pretty sure it’s the harmonica that does it.
Finally the album finishes with the stripped back, gentle lull of “Second Home” which, if you hadn’t fallen in love with the album already, you’ll need to prepare for. Lewis shows off his ability to sing in the heavens with such ease, reminiscent of The Temper Trap. Weirdly he does feature a police siren at the end of this track but don’t let that put you off… let’s call it “creative flow”?
That’s not to say that there aren’t imperfections. The EP has its tuning issues and moments of just plain cringe-worthy lyrics. But let’s cut the boy some slack. After all, the almost-polished vocals and general country sound gives it that indie-film kind of feeling, and anyway, for a free album, who’s complaining?
Release: 13th August 2012, self-release