Musicians like Joshua English draw more inspiration from the road than anything else. English calls two places home – Portland and Boston, but in reality he spends more time in-between these cities enamoring audiences with his brand of modern folk rock. His latest, “Lay Bare Your Bones”, could not have a better title…this collection of cohesive and laid back tunes are stripped down to the bare essentials, and allow English’s lyrics to come to the forefront.
“Lay Bare Your Bones” is a brutally honest look at life’s ironies, but every once in awhile English throws a hint of optimism with his “stick to your guns” message. His songs lack the processed bells and whistles common in modern music, but the skeletal nature of the arrangements gives the record an earnest and organic feel that is true to what English is all about. The simple style puts focus where focus should be – one the melodies and words. Exposed like this, one runs the risk of becoming too monotonous and sleepy, but English avoids this on highlights such as “M-LV”, “Nickel In”, and “Danny Drugs”. As for most of the other tunes, they would have been better if built on sharper hooks.
English has toured extensively with Frank Turner, Ben Nichols, and Jonah Matranga. If you like understated roots rock and folk with spicy lyrics akin to John Wesley Harding, be sure to give Joshua English a spin – it only takes 30 minutes.
iPOD-worthy: 3, 6, 8, 11
Joshua English on MySpace. Official site.