‘The Foundry EP’ review from famed music critic Steve Morse

“What a surprising gem of a record. Leland Sundries occupies a beguiling musical prairie between Leonard Cohen and Townes Van Zandt. Throw in some profoundly poetic and vividly cinematic lyrics from singer Nick Loss-Eaton, stir a little with rural blues and touches of rockabilly and ragtime, and you have a subtly rewarding Americana breakthrough. On the opening “Airstream Trailer,” suggesting ancient blues with an emotive harp, Loss-Eaton sings of “a mountain trail full of switchbacks.” That could stand for a pretty good description of their music, too. Leland Sundries keeps you off guard with the scope of their archival sensibility yet modern feel. Loss-Eaton’s smoky, talk-singing baritone summons the noir of Leonard Cohen, but is also laced with humor, as on the kiss-off tune “Giving Up Redheads” and the ballad “Apparition,” where he “snuck into the Planetarium so I could sleep under the stars” and where he ends up in a “compartmentalized condition.” Hey, it’s cerebral, but it works, enhanced by simple melodies that twist and turn into one’s brain. The band goes ragtime on “Bywater Rag” (with some New Orleans-style clarinet for good measure), plus mines a downtempo, lo-fi flair on “VFW Hall.” Then there’s the piece de resistance, “Monitor Arms,” inspired by the Civil War boat the Monitor, which was built in the band’s home area of Brooklyn. Its line about “shipbuilders swilling and spilling their beers” is quietly hilarious. The song is a further sign that Leland Sundries likes to shake things up in ways that make them quite unique in today’s soundscape.”

— STEVE MORSE, former staff music critic at the Boston Globe who has also contributed to Billboard and Rolling Stone

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