I’m not sure I should admit to where I first heard The Musgraves. I will, but for your enjoyment, not mine. Ok, I confess, it was when they played on the Graham Norton show. This is kind of embarrassing for two reasons. Firstly, I was watching the Graham Norton Show, and secondly, it wasn’t through trawling the internet, a press email or a gig. Which in itself is quite an interesting point, should we take pride in how we find out about music? I’m sure it’s not just me that thinks finding a band on Graham Norton is kind of tragic, but if the music’s good, should we care? The answer’s no, but if you take pride in picking out the gems in the musical mire, then you’re probably quite likely to.
On this occasion though, it would seem that it was Graham Norton that was ahead of the curve. I am serious. If you look at the facts, The Musgraves have released one single digitally, with a few copies sold at shows, and have just over 1000 ‘likes’ on Facebook. Most of which were acquired in the hours following the Graham Norton performance. Norton has also just picked up a regular slot on Radio 2, on which The Musgraves are receiving all sorts of exposure. Maybe he’s exerting his new found audiences, maybe he’s trying to prove to his newfound audience he can be ahead of the curve too. It doesn’t really matter though, because The Musgraves are great, and any exposure they do receive can be a good thing. Right? Right.
They hail from ‘The Midlands’, or at least that’s what it says on their Facebook, which is where they do a lot of their gigging. It’s also where they film the majority of their brilliant acoustic covers. Seriously they’re brilliant, I’m not sure which is my favourite but the ‘Chord Umbrella’ in their Umbrella cover is worth a look at as is their brilliant take on Bon Iver’s Skinny Love. Who knew it could sound so cool with a glockenspiel and a ukelele! The song that drew my attention first though was their single ‘Last Of Me’.
This time borrowing the Ukeleles bigger brother, front man Matthew leads the Musgraves through 3:17 of fun frolic and tinkly glockenspiel. They sound sort of like a toned down version of Fun. Less clown like creepiness, more violin and clapping. The violin is used to great effect,keeping within the carnival like euphoria whilst adding a depth that makes for something special. Energetic and bold, this is less a new side to the quirky quadruplet whose covers charmed early audiences, but more a progression towards the music they could be making. Ukelele covers are brilliant – just ask this Jason Mraz fan – and The Musgraves’ are no exception, but sometimes you just yearn for some more substance. In ‘Last Of Me’, they’ve found that. I can’t wait to hear more.
The Musgraves – Last Of Me
The Musgraves – So Sofia
The Musgraves – Fortune Teller