ep review ~ 'no oil paintings' ~ no oil paintings

EP Review
No Oil Paintings 
For fans of⁞► Of Monsters and Men, James Vincent McMorrow, Farriers

From the opening chords of 'Exodus', the debut EP from No Oil Paintings has me hooked. I am a huge fan of these guys and have seen them many times, so it is sacrilege that I haven't reviewed this until now. The self titled EP is a gem of a record. A delightful mix of harmonies and an eclectic din of various instruments sets these lads apart from the mainstream. Banjos, guitars, percussion, strings descend on your senses in a perfectly gentle yet powerful way. For you all who don't know them, (insert condemning emoji here) No Oil Paintings are a four piece folky, country bluegrassy treat hailing from sunny Belfast with the delightful Sean Doone on 5-string Banjo/Acoustic Guitar/Vocals, the ridiculously talented Chris Kelly on Dobro/Electric Guitar/Vocals, the ever lovely James Doone on Bass/Mandolin/Vocals and everybody's favorite smiling drummer George Sloan on Drums/Vocals. Formed coming up to two yeas ago, the lads have been hard at it gigging at most of our festivals and an awesome residency with Openhouse Festival last summer, roughly coinciding with this release.

The first track of the EP is 'Exodus.' Lyrically gorgeous and wrapped in a perfect composition, this track is one of my personal favourites of any No Oil Paintings works to date. Delicately leading you in to the track with a gorgeous banjo invitation then kicking up a notch as the band join together instrumentally and harmonically to make you smile and want to get up off the sofa and have a wee dance.

'Orphans Lullaby' is stunningly gentle. Full of heart with achingly beautiflul lyrics sung with the ever stunning tones of Chris Kelly. A haunting, deep and emotional song bursting with hope and compassion, you would have to be dead inside not to be moved by this track.

Stepping up a tempo with lead vocals from Bronagh Broderick, 'Secrets' is the third track of the EP. This is exactly what you want from your folky bluegrass ensemble. Flawless story telling vocals dominate the air with an attack of melodic strings and percussion hitting all the right notes in all the right places. This is a heart-beat-faster-toe-tapping-tell-me-more tune from this delectable band.

Closing on 'Rise' this EP does not disappoint from start to finish. With a head shake inducing opening vocal, Chris yet again nails it with his distinct gruff tone and pure loving it fashion. Anyone who has seen No Oil Paintings live will know exactly what I mean, a completely impassioned front man who is engrossed in his music and art and its contagious.

A multi-talented, multi-instrumental band doesn't come around very often and each member has performed long before No Oil Paintings existed and that is clearly evident, tight, harmonic and down right catchy tunes eak from this band who have barely hit their second birthday, what will come in the new EP and album is exciting me, my little socks are ready for blowing off.

Rebecca Armstrong

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