This quintet credits duende—a term I just learned from writing this review, it can be defined loosely as soul, thanks Wikipedia—as the origin of their songs. Herff Jones have recently put together a flavorful collection of acoustic and electric balanced tunes on an ep titled “War-Torn”.
Upon listening to HerffJones, the band’s dilemma of fitting into a genre became apparent. The band hesitates to define themselves as rock artists as their music is a little too somber for the rippin’ riffs of a rock artist. They settle by placing “Alternative Rock?” into of the genre column on their facebook. Regardless of what genre they are, War-Torn is a great EP for any Homo sapien, even your grandmother.
The most outstanding aspect, sonically speaking, of War-Torn is the pure talent of both singers, Joey Hilbert and Blair Smith. I can’t recall a band with such perfectly complimenting male and female vocals. After hearing Joey and Blair sing the wandering lyrics, “Holy ghost, coast to coast//a space cowboy on the run and he’s taking notes//list the names, they’re all the same” I know exactly why it’s meant to be. With “Big Foot” on replay, their voices seem to come together to provide me with a warm blanket of sound, can I have some warm milk too?
If I had to describe Herff Jones’ War-Torn, it would be songs to comfort you while hitchhiking your way across the country. The band is a fusion of Conor Oberst’s Mystic Valley Band and Mute Math. The sounds of Herff Jones are punchy and bright, dynamic yet folk induced. Give the EP a spin, see how you would classify it and either way, you won’t be disappointed. I will leave you with my favorite line on the EP from the track “Well, Oh Well”, “I don’t ever think I’ll find what I’m looking for//better or worse//it’s this curse that I’m moving towards”.