Just Barelys Top

The Just Barelys’ folk pop is friendly on the surface, but ever-so-slightly "off.” With a banjo and plenty of gingerly boy/girl harmonies, you’d expect the band to follow the straightforward lead of so many prudish acoustic co-eds. But the music swerves slightly in unexpected places, just enough to let you know you had them pegged wrong. A brief harmony over the chorus of "(S) Kills” redeems a start that could have been misinterpreted as trite, warping a polite little song into refreshingly accessible art folk. "Slum Lord” sandwiches the same pretty-but-alien harmonies between slide banjo and non sequitur drum track interludes to make a pretty and understated collage. Some tracks fall between the cracks, lacking the same subtle, oddball resonance, but they’re still pleasant taken as twee ephemera. Goes to show you that artistic license in indie folk doesn’t necessarily entail 20-minute acoustic solos or formless string-plucking. Nobody’s calling the Just Barelys ingenious, but their vaguely offbeat ambience makes them pretty intriguing. (Dead Bum)