Formed in 2013, The Pastures are a unique band in the Newcastle music scene, combining folk elements with punk-rock. ‘Plant Pot Face’ is their second EP (following 2015’s ‘Out of Order’ EP) and, while the band still have room to improve, it’s certainly hard to deny that they are onto something big here.
The band’s blend of folk and punk balances the use of slow, acoustic folk guitar for song introductions with energetic punk that often incorporates exhilarating, fast guitar solos that would not feel out of place in a hard-rock setting. While there is certainly something to be said about how much this really counts as combining folk with punk, as the integration of the genres isn’t especially organic, none of that takes away from the fact that the songs themselves are well-written, with some very interesting musical ideas that elevate the band above the level of the average punk-rock group.
Lead guitarist David Robson (AKA D Bomb) is the obvious standout musician thanks to his dazzling guitar solos, but vocalist and rhythm guitarist Daryl Burns (AKA Dazzy B) deserves recognition as well for having a fine voice that manages to balance the folk and punk influences nicely and fits the band perfectly. The rhythm section of percussionist Stuart Kirby (AKA Stu) and bassist John Tilbury (AKA Tibz), while not flashy, lay solid foundations upon which the band’s material is built and do their job with a confidence that shines through in their performances.
Where the band falters, however, is in their song lengths. While the more punk-focused tracks (the title track and closing track ‘End of Days’) are very enjoyable, the other two tracks, despite being the main source of folk influence, don’t have enough musical ideas to really sustain their six-minute length on record. ‘Days of Our Lives’ hampers itself with around two and a half minutes of very repetitive, technically unremarkable acoustic guitar work for the introduction that does little except drag the song out, while ‘What Would You Do?’ trips itself up by repeating music sections so often that the entire song grows dull towards the end. The potential in the songs is audible, but a more restrained songwriting approach would have brought it out far better than the final songs manage.
Ultimately, ‘Plant Pot Face’ shows The Pastures to be a band with obvious potential for greatness and the EP is worth checking out if you’re into folk-punk.