Indie-folk band Box of Birds is on the verge of releasing their brand new EP A Place On The Wall Where A Picture Used To Hang, a collection of four folk tracks also reminiscent of the style of He Is We or The Temper Trap. A product of four years of writing, the EP is the combined brainchild of band members Steph Durwin, Charlie Gargano, Erik Caldarone, and Benny Grotto’s integration of harmony with heartbreak.

The moniker, Box of Birds, is actually an idiom in New Zeland that means “feeling happy,” an appropriate name, but by no means an all-defining label for the band’s varied musical capabilities. With each member being either an audio engineer, a professionally-trained musician, or a combination of both, the eclectic material the band produces and releases is a nod to their ability to fuse both ends of the emotional spectrum into one cohesive and catchy song.

“We feel at ease in the studio,” band member Charlie Gargano says. “It’s definitely helpful having so many great ears both in the band, and helping us capture what we are hearing in our heads.”

The EP itself feels like a collection of memoirs; ballads and blues layered over dynamic beats and riffs. It’s poignant yet fiery, nostalgic yet sassy, and the juxtaposition of the textured instruments with soft lyrics are what make this contradiction work. “It’s Fine, It’s Swell” is a song fit for the closing scene of a movie– cue Napoleon Dynamite riding away on a stallion. The beautiful harmonization towards the end gives the song a sense of completion; I feel like I’m finally headed home.

“Bury My Bones” is the most upbeat track on the EP and has a Mumford & Sons feel. The polka-like breakdown near the middle is an enjoyable tangent that gives the track a bouncy, far-Eastern flair, a nice contrast to the dominating strummed banjos and plucked bass lines of the west. Both “The Root” and “Plants and Books” are slower tracks, and the sentiment and feelings they evoke give the songs a sense of duality. The happy instruments and chord progressions cater to the ears while the lyrics cater to the heart, an example of the “mixture of dark/serious lyrics with fun and mostly positive-sounding music” that the band describes themselves.

This gem is definitely an EP for the season, and if summer had 500 days, then the catchy rhythms and soulful lyrics could be stuck in your head for every single one. Hear the songs live at the Box of Birds EP release show at the Burren on Saturday, June 27.

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