Review- “By the Back Stair”- Banded Stilts

reviewed by Michael

Here’s yet another band to add to your “pretty folk band” list. And just because they’re another band to add to your list it doesn’t mean they’re not worth listening to.

Banded Stilts excel at the mellow and beautiful folk that conjures up comparisons sometimes to Dan Mangan and Bon Iver. Lead singer Steve Haley has a perfect voice for the genre- soft yet powerful, and with a small bit of country twang.

The EP gets off to a great start with likely the strongest track, “Forest, Oh Forest, Protect Me.” The song starts out with some simple acoustic picking and strums before Healey brings in some soft “ooh’s.” It’s a great nature-filled track.

Next up is “Full Swing” which starts off with a bunch of harmonica and shows off some great vocal harmonies. It’s a fun song about a gold rush, and the song is at its most powerful when Healey sings “Please come home.”

“The Owls” is a song that showcases the power of just guitars and has some great imagery of flying. It seems to be about flying away from one’s troubles, as shown through these lyrics: “I will try to fly/Before my days are over/I will leave this all behind.”

There are more instruments to take note of in “Anything With Legs” and it takes on a tone that could almost be country. The song makes many mentions of a city and its warmth.

The final song “Flee Into the Autumn Dark” is  another very pretty song with an emphasis on keys over guitar, a refreshing change. There’s also a lot of audible mandolin, also very refreshing.

This soft collection of songs makes great music to play after a long day. It’s comforting and warm, kind of like curling up with a blanket and a good book.

By the Back Stair officially releases July 5 but you can hear it over at the Banded Stilts Bandcamp page.

Top Track: “Forest, Oh Forest, Protect Me”

Rating: Strong Hoot (Good)

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