With a soft sincerity to their authentic, finger-picking brand of folk, The Rabbitts may have crafted one of the most uniformly “folk” EPs of 2018. Incorporating forest imagery and the mystic nature that inherently accompanies mandolins and banjos plucked in docile unison, Tall Pines & Tangled Vines is both distinctly British as well as overall engrossing storytelling. There’s nothing quite like a good “weird” folk record to subvert the nonsensical folk hybrids – this one is both hip and traditionally strange.
Few folk artists come to mind who taken the time to craft songs concerning values of nature, minute aspects of the Earth or the arcane magic of barrows and lunar objects. Many consider the drug-tinted mode of songwriting to be outdated or irrelevant – but it is arguably more relevant now than ever. Given our current social fascination with heightened consciousness surrounding the innerworkings of nature and its relationship to moods, feelings and behavior, a track such as “Bud Barrow Blues” is far from passé – it’s really just the gentle version of a more verbose psych-folk. Vocalist Lucy McKinlay projects the perfect role of a minstrel serenading the very atmosphere before her; Odhran Linsey pairs well in this formula as the psychedelic yet earthy guitarist, drawing on the power will-o-wisps and phantasms, as it were.
The EP finds its footing in serving as whimsical ambience, particularly later in the record with a track such as “Tangerine Green” – it’s not excitable as Marcus Mumford once was, but that is an enormous boon for the duo that is taking back the inherent reserved nature of folk. In many ways, Tall Pines & Tangled Vines represents the traditional and eclectic phenomena of folk while exposing some unexpected intricacies and curiosities of the genre.