Brothers from Strontian in the far-flung reaches of the Western Highlands, JR Green present their debut EP Bring the Witch Doctor.
As if we needed reminding that Scotland produces the world’s finest modern folk music the brothers have arrived brandishing an insightful blend of laid back slow burning music intertwined with intriguing and beguiling lyrics.
They describe their music as “low-fi” and “skrunk,” and with nothing more than an acoustic guitar and accordion they are able to bring an edgy feeling to their tracks with lyrics pouring modern tales on top of an almost traditional Scottish sound.
‘Nigerian Princess’ starts out at a jaunty pace with accordion layering with guitar conjuring up thoughts of village halls and ceilidh’s.
The romances of these pictures are quickly severed when lyrics of teenage adventures in lust and love kick in painting a story of chasing the desperation of the impossible girl.
Soaring and melodic it’s an excellent start to the EP, which contains possibly the finest line ever heard in a folk song, “I am sorry for my output I am surrounded by wankers, I am only seventeen and don’t have all the answers!”
‘Do The Katie Step’ is a darker track that although gently driven by strummed guitar feels lazy and filled with longing, until an uplifting repeated chorus grabs hold.
The song outlines the desire for youth to spread its wings and experience the excitement of life (possibly away from the slow pace of highland life).
The track pushes along to a climatic rousing end and without doubt will be one of the anthems of this summer’s Scottish festival scene.
‘The Gentleman’s Apocalypse’ is the standout track on the EP; a short, sharp and endearing story of failed love, it more than doff’s a cap in the direction of Frightened Rabbit.
The track teases along never quiet going were you think it will as it draws itself back holding emotion in check with a yearning and doleful lyrics.
Utterly compelling and with a maturity beyond the writers tender years it promises great things to come from this band.
‘They All Know Something’ is full of melody, provided by accordion and occasional vocal harmony; a gentle and earthy lament, it brings the EP to a soft, slow end, but has you hitting the replay button to experience the full record over.
There won’t be many, if any, better debut records released in Scotland this year, a pleasure to listen to and to write about, it’s hard to do this EP justice.
If you are a lover of clever acoustic folk with a modern twist then JR Green will smack you in the face and leave you reeling.
Words: Peter Dorrington