by Meaghan Paulosky
The Taylor Swift fandom, nay madness is entirely inescapable. I am one of the few who will proudly announce my abhorrence of Ms. Swift, but even I knew that her album was due out this past Tuesday. Almost every musically stunted girl, and a generous number of boys, over the age of nine spent the past month tweeting, reblogging, and otherwise socially chronicling anticipation of the album’s release. Everyone seems to have forgotten that there were hoards of other albums scheduled to release.
Did anyone even mention Cee Lo’s transcendent Christmas album? Or Thrice’s “Anthology” of classics? Moment of silence for the end of Thrice. I think not. Aspersions aside, I decided to delve into the unknown this week and try something completely unfamiliar. This was how I found Walk Off the Earth. I had first heard of the five-part Canadian indie band while waiting for a concert to begin. I had seen the loop of upcoming shows enough times to start paying attention and begin memorizing every act performing for the foreseeable future. I heavily judged their outdoorsy ad, thinking them to be ethereal hippies. Shame on me. I should have gone straight home and looked for online leaks, live performances, their popular covers, anything.
Walk Off the Earth’s (apparently highly-anticipated) four-song EP R.E.V.O is a friendly collection of tribal/folk/experimental/kindergarten class songs that sound like everything heard in mainstream alt/pop today, yet at the same time it is incomparable to them. The songs are homey and folksy and transport you to a small town with some sort of cornfield in the vision. (Maybe I’m still influenced by the picture I first saw of them in said cornfield.) The remarkable thing is that they manage to be so clean in their instrumentation and vocal transitions that homey and folksy sound almost immature when describing them. I honestly don’t even know the technical names of half of their percussion ensemble, but there are a few in there that I’m almost sure I played in kindergarten music class – albeit slightly less to the skill-level of Walk the Earth. Almost makes me wish I had stuck with those claves.
I would even consider their vocals to be a weapon in their instrumentation artillery. Any band that can manage to have a honey-sweet female vocal lead into a raspy-smooth male vocal without sounding kitschy or like an overtly romantic ballad has scored brownie points in my book. It is this deliberate use of unfamiliar instruments that sets them apart from say fun. or the Lumineers, carving a neat little niche for them in today’s sound. So this is my formal apology to Walk Off the Earth. I judged your mildly flower-child poster art and wrote you off as for the hipsters. My mistake. Had I not waited until now to give you fair airtime, I would have been at your show on October 28th. Next time around I’ll be there, flowers in hair and claves in hand.