Mountainface : Let's Play EP

You can't start your first folk EP with a nine minute song, can you? Well there's a fierce dynamic music between the guitars of David Weir and Tom Winch, and the mandolin of Matt Youds, that implies, frankly, Mountainface should do exactly as they think best.

There's all sorts in the pot with this new folk trio from Chester (Jackson C. Frank, Punch Brothers, Joanna Newsom - you can hear her harp in some of the mandolin playing, Bellowhead and Moore, Moss, Rutter are all suggested), and that first song is in truth an extended interweaving three part instrumental, with all the tight but loose interplay of a late night Irish folk session - Let's Play - that segues into a soft hued, slightly mystical song Morning Greeting. It is worth nine minutes of anyone's time.

Next up and Another World is mid paced, but with the mandolin precise and driving, churning and stirring things up - demanding passion from David Weir's vocal. How Many Roads is the only track where the lyrics lose clarity momentarily, but Matt Youd's energised playing arrives and jump starts the song, and then impels it forward.

Last song I Want You To Smile is the most complete piece of the set - the music framing an unexpectedly affecting lyric, well sung, about someone who has died wanting their surviving partner to make the most of the life they have left.

The overall sound is alt. folk played with the intensity and fire of raw bluegrass. The mandolin on these songs bobs, dances and weaves full of unstoppable momentum and joy, like Steve McManaman tearing down the wing in his pomp.

Mountainface remind me more than anything of a magnificent Manchester trio, To Hell with Burgundy - and like that band they really have something, a vivid life in their playing, that sets them apart.

A great and promising first EP.