LeE HARVeY OsMOND falls into that “hard to describe” void. They label themselves “acid folk”, but there’s no one real label for this band, as evinced on The Folk Sinner. There are high expectations before even pressing play for an album bustling with high-caliber names, ranging from Cowboy Junkies’ Margot Timmins, Hawksley Workman, and Colin Linden to Paul Reddick– and that’s cutting the list substantially.
LeE HARVeY OsMOND has more layers than Viennese torte while still remaining tight, lead singer Tom Wilson’s creamy, smooth vocals perfectly reinforced by the band. Hat-tip to the production finesse of Cowboy Junkie Michael Timmins here for adeptly blending the two without either overpowering the other.
The proceedings open with Gordon Lightfoot cover “Oh Linda”, and the stripped-down, sleazy, bass-driven track makes for a great first course. This is followed by an absorbing arrangement of dual-layered vocals atop some austere foot-stomping and jaunty harmonica on “Devil’s Load”. To hazard a guess, the band was toasting with wine glasses for added percussion value. Followers of the band since 2009’s Polaris Prize-nominated A Quiet Evil will feel at home with tracks such as “Big Chief”, and although reverie creeps in on “Leave the House”, the proceedings are shaken up with jagged guitar flurries (“Leave The House”) and jazzy windrock (“Freedom”).
The Folk Sinner will have you rushing to Google Maps to plan your next road trip, as it makes for the ideal soundtrack. Despite a few tracks creeping perilously towards repetitive territory (“Leave The House”, “Freedotti”), the record altogether gathers infectiousness with each play and shines a light on the many facets of LeE HARVeY OsMOND.
Essential Tracks: ”Devil’s Load”, “Big Chief”, and “Freedom”