Verdict: 4.5 / 5
So I got this album, and upon discovering that they were a South African band, I went to go find if anyone else had heard of them around here, as their website mentioned they came from Durban, and I am currently located in Cape Town.
The only responses I got were from a few old people, who spoke of a mystical time several decades ago (in the distant time known as the 70s and 80s) when there was another group called the Hinds Brothers. Enough probing into the dark miasma of old people’s memories eventually revealed the truth: these young fellows are Aiden and Wren Hinds, the sons of one of the original folk musicians of that time, and they have teamed up to continue their family legacy into the modern age. And in the process, they have delivered an album that is not only as competitively good as any international folk album, but one that is intensely South African at the same time, and which benefits from being both.
Firstly, although I know this isn’t strictly important, the album box and inlays and decoration on the disc and sleeves are very beautiful, and suit the theme of the album very well. It has the benefit of showing us they aren’t messing around, that the Hinds Brothers have an artistic vision that they are going for in crafting this album. The first few tracks on the album sound very American, in a good way; almost like the tradition of Southern Folk rock, with soothing melodies, banjoes and acoustic guitars and clear lyrics, unlike the echoe-y reverb of the more Northern New York style and British influence style. They do this very well, and I would have been satisfied if this was all they had done.
However, after a few tracks, influences that can only be said to be Indian sinks in, I guess. There’s really no better word for it. I suppose it’s part of coming from Durban that those cultural aspects have been incorporated, but it really does improve the album, giving a range of tracks and showing a very enjoyable level of cultural blending. The structure is fairly well thought out, reaching a crescendo, before finally slowing back down to an enjoyable conclusion that leaves the listener very impressed. Or at least I was.
If you haven’t realized, I like the Hinds Brothers a lot. I hope they continue to be as successful, as Folk Music can be infinitely more than a Mumford and Sons rip-off session, and that’s what the modern stream seems to be. So congrats to these guys, definitely buy their album if you see it and like folk music.