Some Kind of Light—the small-platter introduction to Durham's Loamlands, due Sep. 24 via Trekky Records—is quite promising, even if it doesn't feel altogether new. It's steeped in the fiery, minimal folk-rock that has taken hold in many parts of the South, especially the Triangle. It makes sense that the group would trade in this style. Kym Register and Will Hackney, Loamlands' core duo, are buds with several acts exploring similar territory: Mount Moriah, Hiss Golden Messenger, Megafaun. One member of that last band, Brad Cook, plays bass on the record and in the live band alongside Lost in the Trees drummer Kyle Keegan. Register and Hackney's old outfit, Midtown Dickens, was trending hard in this direction before splitting up earlier this year.
But it's easy to excuse a new band borrowing tricks from those around them—especially when they nail every one of them. "Scottsboro" breezes through Mount Moriah's playbook, riding a spacious electric guitar and a striding rhythm that's half CCR choogle, half Fleetwood Mac stomp—appropriate as Register's voice, raw and expressive in a way it's never been before, reveals shades of Stevie Nicks. The closing "Can't Tell" colors its Big Pink lilt with blasts of searing blues slide, a combo that Megafaun has all but patented. Loamlands pulls the looks off with passion and conviction, filling these sounds with their own vibrant spirit.
Of the EP's five songs, there is one glimmer of the distinct outfit Loamlands could become. "Another Reason," streaming below, is the band's first single. Driven by hypnotic picking and some truly cutting electric fills, it's almost claustrophobic in the verses, bearing down hard on Register's calming coos. But the arrangement expands during the chorus, capturing the infectious sense of wonder that made Midtown Dickens so special. It's a uniquely potent offering, one that elevates Loamlands to another level. Check it out and see Some Kind of Light's very floral cover art.