The Strumbellas have their name right. Everything on this EP rings, plucks and hums along as Simon Ward sings of religion, death and far-flung locales. It sounds as though all seven or so band members are playing and singing live in one room, and the group vocals charm.
Ward is blessed with a knack for singalong choruses and a soothing voice that carries his lyrics through songs that seem unfinished. (The pretty Underneath A Mountain trails off prematurely.)
Bass, guitar, autoharp, mandolin, banjo and violin are all heard from, but the album really lifts whenever John Williams’s clarinet drifts in and around the melodies. All of this bodes well for the band’s in-progress full-length.
Top track: Indiana
The Strumbellas play the Cameron House Mondays and the Dakota August 26.