Label: Catapult Release date: 02/08/10 Link: Myspace Buy: Amazon Mark West fled Fanfarlo just over a year ago to form his own neo-folk band, The Lost Cavalry along with Dave Roberts, Oliver Whitehead, Nick Goold, and Toby Atkins. Their debut EP, Waves Freeze To Rolling Hills, is as DIY as it gets; recorded in West’s bedroom and released on his own imprint, Two Six Heave, it’s definitely a record made up of blood, sweat and tears. ‘Oh Sally’ elicits the same emotion as the EP’s artwork as a lolling concertina makes you feel like your bereft at sea at the mercy of the rhythms of the waves. West’s vocals, from the outset, are tenderly delicate yet powerful in their range like, Rufus Wainwright at his most vulnerable, pleading “come away from the edge”. ‘Oh Sally’, sets out the formula for the EP, as the band gently add meat to the bones of each track, carefully selecting each layer of flesh from a vast array of instruments that has you wondering how big West’s bedroom is. ‘Secret Ships’ again, goes from a sleepy opener of just Mark and an acoustic guitar, before being joined in by military drums, concertina and glockenspiel, although incredibly dense it still remains charmingly understated. Every track, has you hungrily unweaving the textures to uncover more and more instrumentation. The EP is as lyrically rich as its musicality; each track tells its own eloquent story. ‘Only Way Forward’, with it’s sparse mandolin introduction West’s soaring vocal acrobatics that could mirror Yeasayer’s Chris Keating; you suddenly feel as if you’ve been transported to a wind swept desolate terrain of a forgotten seaside town with nothing but your own lingering thoughts for company and the incoming ships. The only lull is, ‘Elephant And Castlebar Hill’, the most commercial and musically thin of the tracks that leaves you missing the density of the rest of the EP. The Lost Cavalry are inevitably going to be cast by critics in the shadow of Fanfarlo who they undoubtedly have similarities with, and they will inevitably be touted as the next natural heirs to Mumford and Sons, but this EP shows that they have boundless depths that will hopefully see them forge out their own niche. Photobucket