BY JOHN B. MOORE
While the recently banjo-less Mumford & Sons may just be three albums into their career, there are still plenty of bands out there, acoustic guitars gripped tightly, more than willing to take over some of that folk/roots/bluegrass spotlight. The Ballroom Thieves, a three piece from Boston, is probably one of the strongest contenders out there to syphon off some of Mumford’s fans.
Their debut, A Wolf in the Doorway, starts off as just like the average neo-folk album, like so many others in the past couple of years, but midway in, with the raucous “Oars to the Sea,” the band unleashes a wholly originally take on the genre. The song starts off with a haunting acoustic strum that’s joined by calm vocals that evolve quickly into an angry howl by Martin Earley, met with the squeal of Blues riffs – a beautiful melding of disparate emotions.
From that point on, the album hits a new plane that the group manages to keep up to the end. Conversely, “Bury Me Smiling,” far from rowdy, puts the spotlight on cellist Calin Peters, begging the question why her vocals are not more prominent throughout the album.
Despite a slow start, A Wolf in the Doorway, is an impressive introduction for band that could have been written off as just another bluegrass/folk bandwagoneer. Thankfully they have the songs to prove they are so much more.
DOWNLOAD: “Oars to the Sea” and “Bury Me Smiling”