Following in the wake of Mumford, Flynn and Stornoway, urban farmer types The Epstein are doing things properly. Their pop-folk EP, ‘I Held You Once’ was formed in cottages, hallways and an old radio concert hall in Bremen, over several pots of tea, while dogs snored, fires roared, and the 16 track whirred in the corner.
Unsurprisingly for a record that has been so spread out, across land and sea, city and country, the sound is as expansive as they come. Cinematic and enigmatic, it sounds like someone standing on a hill, looking across a valley at the miles of emptiness surrounding them and then, taking a huge breath of air, screaming out their inner most demons. Expelling all those feelings of inadequacy that soak their sheets at 5am.
And what is it that’s keeping them awake? It’s not the sound of sheep bleating, but the city, somewhere between Oxford and London, that they’ve carved out as home. Noisy, light filled, chaotic. If it’s not the bright lights from the airport keeping them up, it’s worries that they’re not going to be heard among all that competition. As they mournfully intone on ‘Another Band Has Gone’- “Will they listen to me in Soho/ Before I head on home for the bedside light?” And that’s if they can make it home on time. They’re also paranoid about missing the ‘midnight ride’. Which isn’t a freight train out of Kentucky, but the last tube.
Not that they should be too anxious. Previous plaudits have included ‘Editor’s Choice’ in Rolling Stone Magazine and BBC Radio 1’s ‘Introducing Album Of The Week.’ And they’re off touring the country and tearing it up on stages at festivals across the land. They’re doing something right, and that something is making heartfelt and vast blockbusters that defy you not to want to stroke their hair, soothing them that everything is going to be just fine.