Dave Hughes and the Renegade Folk Punk Band - As You Are EP

Dave Hughes is a name that might not be familiar to many Scottish folk fans, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t ought to be. Since 2006, he’s spent the majority of his spare time writing, driving, booking and, on occasion, playing. The Renegade Folk Punk Band (of which Dave is a founding member) has presumably helped share the petrol bill in addition to providing an extra dimension to his sound - and, if As You Are is any evidence, to his songwriting.

The three-track extended play kicks things off with a simple keyboard riff that almost sounds as though it might be taught in secondary schools. This gives way to a deliciously upbeat but still fairly lyrically intricate song, with the words sounding fairly resigned to living life as ‘all we can be’.

This mood is carried well into The Sinner and the Saints, an adrenaline-fuelled fist-fight of a track, with the heaviest of snares punctuating a chorus propelled along by male-female dual vocals. Their self-labelled “anti-folk” genre is most apparent here, with Dave’s vocals becoming more savage than perhaps one may expect from a band whose influences include Bob Dylan.

There is perhaps only one major downside with the record, and that is the tendency for things to get a bit off-key. The vocals occasionally drift from the path - and not in a good way - which can distract from the otherwise fairly tight musical work on display here. A shame, given that it is otherwise very well constructed. Closing track In The Modern World is more of a solo effort, which thankfully has enough urgency and intensity to cover most of the vocal cracks.

Dave Hughes and the Renegade Folk Punk Band’s experience in the field seems to have come together nicely to create an enjoyable, sanguine EP, marred only by occasional dips in vocal quality. If you’re open enough to getting over that hurdle, As You Are is a satisfying collection of songs that should be congenial to most fans of good, old-fashioned Scottish folk.

As You Are is out now.


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