We listened. We liked. We’re still waiting for the folk-pop climax.
I’ve said it before and I shall inevitably say it again: when it comes to Folk music, you’ve got to do something interesting. It’s become far too fashionably hipster to embrace the genre, just as it has to wear plaid and sport a moderately length beard.
+ shines through in this instance of an artist who is taking small steps towards liberating the genre from the facial fuzz of oppression. While his latest single Lay Me Down is undeniably folk influenced, it doesn’t follow the hipster herd off the edge of the cliff into a sea of mediocrity.
What’s most interesting is Hughes’ utter refusal to embrace the formulaic pop structure that the genre has recently adopted. There is no specific chorus to speak of, as every verse functions as a sort of half-chorus building up to a climax… unfortunately, it’s one that never comes. Instead, the song completely shifts into almost a completely separate piece of music as a bridge section, before rolling back into the marching build of drum-driven rhythms.
In a way, this track strikes as a very folk version of David Bowie’s Blackstar single in that it morphs part way through into something different. But instead of Bowie’s distinct vocal and neo-jazz backdrops, it’s got lilting guitars and a vocal that has a solid Jake Bugg feel but without sounding like someone is removing Liam Gallagher from his own nostrils. The outcome is a smooth track with a gently haunting vibe that builds and builds ad infinitum, but without a payoff might feel a little bit short (though the repeatability is remarkable).