The Folk Ups may be going their separate ways for university, but they leave us with the aptly titled EP, Shelby, (named after their ingenious bass drum/suitcase invention), available for free on their Bandcamp page.
Opener Come & Go sees the duo at their most incisive, as they switch between bluegrass choruses and indie-folk verses in the style of The Lumineers. The use of harmonica, slide guitar, hand claps, whistling and constantly changing tempos show the band’s fearlessness in experimenting with new sounds and textures, and Ryan Harling’s voice at its most theatrical.
Harling is in full control of his voice on tearjerker Lunar Lullaby, which features a beautifully melodic banjo tune, and a moving cello line. Jasmine Kelly’s vocals are soothing at the EP’s emotional peak: “My dear, you’ll have saved me, now we are free.”
The Folk Ups try something different yet again on For Your Eyes Only. The Lantau Singers choir add a dreamy nostalgia, while Harling, singing: “Home is a skin that you can’t outgrow/ And I say well what does that mean?”, shows his humorous side.
Their debut was brilliant, but Shelby is even better, with the band really breaking into their stride. If it proves one thing, their last three shows at the end of the month will be unmissable.