It must be difficult being an Americana band in Devon, and indeed acts of this type are few and far between around Exeter. Fortunately, Cut Purse Rascals’ debut EP goes some way to filling this obvious hole. Heavitree is a strong opening release, and one that bodes well for the future of the band. Its launch on the 26th January signals what should be an exciting year for the Rascals and hopefully the Exeter music scene as a whole.
As someone who does not frequently listen to Americana, I was pleasantly surprised at how accessible the 5-track EP is. The arrangements aren’t dense and the production is extremely clear, making the work as a whole pleasingly lucid. Central to my enjoyment of Heavitree is just how listenable it is. That’s not to say however the Cut Purse Rascals lack complexity, as the multi-layered vocal lines continually impressed me. Notably, the counter melodies of 100 Faces worked extremely effectively; throughout, the harmonics were flawless. The instrumentation is adept, yet by no means approaching the vibrancy of the vocal lines. Indeed, the only criticism I would level at the work is that the accompaniment is at times formulaic.
If Cut Purse Rascals manage to match the excellence of their vocals with their instrumental parts, they may well become one of the most exciting bands to emerge from Exeter in the last few years. The strength of Heavitree bodes well for the future, and of course, I recommend checking out the EP for yourself. I think you’ll be impressed.