South For Winter // How The Mountain
Written by Kayla Albee
South For Winter's down home blend of folk and acoustic indie shows the band in a new light on their latest EP, How The Mountain. Following their self titled EP that was released in the beginning of the year, How The Mountain digs deeper, reaches further, and proves that South For Winter are here for the long haul.
The opening title track, "How The Mountain," is a subtle summer lullaby, invoking the feeling of being outside by a crackling fire in the quiet, still August air. Back and forth vocals between lead vocalist Danni Cichon and guitarist / vocalist Nick Stone personalize the story telling aspect that the band as a whole have crafted for each of the five songs on this diverse EP. Picking up the pace with a jingly beat and the addition of cello from Alex Stradal catapults the listener into the next song on a wave of joyous energy.
As the EP moves into the next track, a foot stomping and hip swaying rhythm takes charge. The song's name, "No One But The Night," sets the stage for the serene and ominous experience that ensues with the first listen. Danni's crystal clear vocals slice through the edgy instrumentals to paint an eerie picture and shows a darker side to South For Winter than what listeners have previously heard.
A delightful surprise comes with the third track, "Whispers in the Trees," which boasts an almost conversational duel vocal feature, as if you're being let in on a private conversation that is to be handled with care. Accompanied by a seemingly tropical inspired tune, it's a nice midway marker.
The forth song, "Nothing No More," is a slower ballad that's easy to get lost in. While safe, Danni's vocals carry you towards the final track, "To Be Next to You," which has a modest start to the end of a chapter. This song is a long walk through a dense, moss covered forest floor during golden hour while basking in the sun as soft lyrics wash over you with clarity and serenity. Balancing and gentle, Danni's vocals fuse with the melody. At time, it's difficult to discern the words, but nevertheless enjoyable to hear.
South For Winter offer something different with each of the five tracks on How The Mountain while maintaining a solid folk based sound. For fans of The Civil Wars, Brandi Carlile, and Iron & Wine, South For Winter have opened the door to new stylistic avenues and expand upon their already established sound.
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