Wednesday 29 December 2010

The Exception To The Rule #3 - The Raw Men Empire

And you thought I'd forgotten all about these 'Exception' posts!  Well, truth be told, I had forgotten all about this particular one.  But thanks to the band-in-question's persistence, here it is.  Better late than never, eh guys?  That band is The Raw Men Empire, a four-piece,  "freak-folk" band all the way from Israel.  Now, I'm no expert on Israeli music (my only other encounter was watching Dana International scoop the Eurovision title back in 1998) but this isn't bad at all! 

When I got their email, two things intrigued me about Elodie, the band's latest EP.  First, there was the comparisons with Devendra Banhart, someone I've always found a bit hit-and-miss (though his recent Arcade Fire support set did manage to sway me), and then there's the "freak folk" thing!  It was anyone's guess what I was going to hear when I finally pulled my finger out and had a listen.

To be honest, three songs into the EP and I wasn't hearing either of those comparisons.  To me, it sounded more like The Notwist, not as cold or as glitchy though, and with a load of great harmonies.  No more so than on Fall Down.  It's on the fourth song, Town Full Of Sinners, that the freak starts to come through with some Devendra-esque spoken vocals, yelps and increasingly frantic guitars.  Then there's the brassy finale of Between You And Me which is just beautiful.   All in all, I'm not convinced by the whole freak thing, but if Elodie is a sneaky peak into what these four guys from Israel have to offer, then I can't wait to hear more! 

Elodie is available from here as a name-your-price download.  I asked Nadav from the band what they had in store for 2011.  Here's what he had to say...

Nadav:  We're touring Europe for the first time, starting January 21st. We'll play in Germany, Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia, the full tour dates are available in our MySpace. Other than that we're working on our next EP, which we plan to record in a secluded cabin somewhere near the Israeli-Lebanese border... beautiful and (believe it or not) peaceful area. Then hopefully another European tour in the spring.

So, no Scottish dates yet, but watch this space!

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