There’s some archetypical pairing between Autumn (or Fall) and folk music: one begets the other, but which one is first? In the case of One Mile An Hour‘s self titled album, the line blurs. This is an album that feels perfect for long drives in these months, but at the same time, would this music exist if the trees didn’t shed their leaves?
The mind boggles. I blame my tea consumption.
‘Sunken ships’ is breezy but melancholic; an afternoon by yourself looking at the brave seas, with the cacophony of the waves breaking becoming too much. ‘Trouble’s roots’ is more easy going, almost begging you to clap along with its infectious groove. Folk and alt-country covered so far, so why not try some dreamier bits, like ‘In return’ and its ending that taps on 70s pop? ‘Heading the same way’ will be a little more down to earth, but with the feelings still rooted in that era.
A quick segue (‘Red’) and royalty is introduced to the mix. ‘Magpie song’ feels so vulnerable, with a painful “da da dah!” being slowly sung, just to then step up to the challenge and face the day. Hear that ending solo? The day has been faced and defeated.
‘You are on beach’ makes me think of the wonderful bands that peddled Slocore ages ago. I probably shouldn’t be namedropping this early on the review (wait for it, though), so I’ll keep it simple: they pulled it off perfectly, mixing the sensibilities of folk and acoustic with the ambient experimentation of 70s rock, creating a song that’s mesmerising, fulfilling and full of strong feelings. The fade out is just nice enough to introduce us to another instrumental segue, the Southern-tinged ‘Freight train’. ‘Love you more’ is possibly the most stripped down thing that One Mile An Hour will play for us and I half expect the album to end in an a capella track, which ain’t a bad way to go in these days.
And then…it happens. The droning beat. The playful guitar happily flying in circles like coked-up swallows. The 10 minute run time. One Mile An Hour do one of the best fucking slocore songs I’ve heard in my life (and I’m a fan of Red House Painters, American Music Club and Idaho). Song’s called ‘Nine Eight: live’ and if all my previous namedropping makes you go “who?” then, please, check ‘Make like paper’, ‘It’s your birthday’ or ‘Bass crawl’. Sorry, I’m getting cranky but I really need to drive the point home: this is an amazing song and the loose jam proves the chops that One Mile An Hour have and flex without ever going full virtuoso on us. A classy, perfect way to end an album that might be hard to “get” on a first spin, but after you’ve listened to ‘Nine Eight: live’ and ‘You are on beach’, the penny will drop and it’ll all make sense.
Words: Sam J. Valdés López