It helps that all five members contribute songs, taking the stress off one songwriter. The band takes the term “folk” seriously, sticking to tunes that could have been culled from the Appalachians in the 19th century or earlier.
Thankfully, the production isn’t rustic. The songs sport a sprightly, well-produced sheen landing just short of being overengineered. As they stand, each instrument and vocal track hits with the exact desired effect, whether that be subdued sections (“Feathers Rise,” “Break in the Clouds”), jaunty upbeat tunes (“Go On,” “What Is Time?”) or in the space between the two moods (the rest of the disc).
Male and female vocals trade off throughout — neither side more talented, both pristine and matching the airtight arrangements perfectly. There is no outlaw within 50 miles of this country/folk mix; these are tunes that evoke the feel of a family sitting around the fire and harmonizing. The title track shows this most heartily, while “Feathers Rise” and others continue the motif in a lesser way.
Elephant Revival’s record has an earnest, humble quality that will appeal to the legion of Mumford & Sons fans, as well as those who like family-style country and folk. —Stephen Carradini