One of the biggest growth areas in the post-millennial music scene has been in the folk-rock genre. So many musicians from these shores have taken the lead from their stateside alt-country counterparts, increasingly influenced by the earthier side of their homeland’s recent musical history, culminating in a journey to a more back to basics sound initially pioneered by the likes of Nick Drake. Trouble is, these days you’ve really got to be on the money to stand out from the crowd, as to the uninitiated, you can’t see the wood for the trees….or the acoustic guitars…..or the beards.
Fortunately in the case of the clean shaven Rupert Stroud, the man has a distinct edge over most, his innate ability to craft a folk-tinged hook-laden melody standing him in good stead so far. However, don’t simply take my word for it, check out recent playlists on 6music (Tom Robinson) and Radio 2 (Bob Harris, Dermot O’Leary) both stations giving welcome exposure to the expansive rootsy shuffle of ‘Morning Light’, a catchy, uplifting opener on Stroud’s fine new 4-track EP featuring songs co-written by the singer and Will Jackson, producer and one of 3 backing musicians. Next up is the equally ebullient ‘Way Back Down’ as Rupert starts to really enjoy himself on this foot stomper before coming crashing back to earth with the heart rending ‘Over’, an emotive stripped back lament to lost love played out with a not inconsiderable amount of conviction. Rounding things off in style is the redemptive title track ‘Way Back Home’ as welcome sprinklings of electronica dart in and out of the shadows. Not bad at all.
Words - Mike Price