Music for many is an escape. An escape from the drudgery of everyday life, and a chance to get lost in something magical, even if it’s only for a few moments. Streets of Laredo are one of those bands that provide the perfect outlet for people with this mentality, and new record Volume I & II is a record for all the thinkers and daydreamers out there.
With the majority of the band hailing from New Zealand but honing their sound in Brooklyn, New York, this gives the music a delightful edge and hardness that wouldn’t have been brought to the surface had they stayed in their native country. Track Everything to Everyone is testament to this, with its haunting country whines set against nostalgia and hope. Its jangling harmonies stitch the music together as the lyrics set the scene of a youthful voice: ‘I might be the younger one, it’s the breadline I’m running from, found a fortune but not in gold’.
The 70s folk rock sound is rampant throughout, ebbing and flowing with a mind of its own and creating an atmosphere of comfort in sound. Girlfriend is one of those tracks where the lyrics make you smile to yourself, whereas Homeless feels like Arcade Fire but stripped back – with Sarah Jayne’s voice braking up the otherwise male-led vocals and showing the versatility of the band. The album feels like you’re watching a coming-of-age film like Stand By Me, and you can’t help but be drawn in by the warmth and familiarity.
Laredo seamlessly slips into country territory with an alternative twist, with the harmonising here being the strongest on the record. The band is not only vocally on par with each other, but create an atmosphere of togetherness, which many folk singers find difficult to do. An example of this is the innocence of track Hey Rose and it’s ode to love as the band sing well thought out lyrics and sound bites: ‘I don’t know if my butterflies are lonesome, I’ve been playing with the sound of a symphony’
Melodies are plentiful, guitars are simple and effective and vocals are full and fragrant. It’s pleasant to its core and for a band in their infancy, the way they fit everything together to form a whole is like they’ve been together for years. With its focus on past memories and innocence, Volume I & II is a great example of how a band should unite as one. Not all singers can work well in a group when it comes to folk or country, but Streets of Laredo do this with apparent ease, creating a beautifully crafted record.