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Driftwood – 2013 ( Self-released)

Reviewed by Lee Zimmerman

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CDs by Driftwood

Sometimes a band can just appear out of nowhere and make a sound so agreeable and enticing it almost seems like they're the product of some divine destiny. Driftwood offers an ideal example of that phenomenon, courtesy of an eponymous debut that's as charming as it is engaging, and nothing short of a delight straight from the get-go.

Ostensibly bluegrass, though not strictly so, Driftwood is spawned from the same down-home, street savvy mindset advanced by the recent wave of hip revisionists, a contingent that includes Mumford and Sons, the Avett Brothers and The Lumineers. Like them, Driftwood specialises in a casual, off-the-cuff approach that leans more on attitude than aptitude and prioritises forthright sentiment as much as purposeful execution.

Despite barebones arrangements and a no-frills delivery that spotlights violin, banjo, guitar and percussion over precision instrumentation, songs such as High School Paycheck, The Sun's Going Down, Before I Rust and Buffalo Street manage to convey enough undeniable charm and infectious urgency to immediately draw their listeners in and entice them to return for more. The energy is addictive and the sense of excitement is palpable, traits held in common by all of today's upstart insurgents.

Of course, it remains to be seen if Driftwood can achieve the same breakthrough success attained by the aforementioned forebears, especially in light of the immense competition that that success has inspired. Even more than the others, Driftwood doesn't allow for easy categorisation. However it would seem likely they could find their footing on the festival circuit where their unabashed enthusiasm might affirm their populist precepts. Until then, a listen to this offering is highly recommended as being well worth the time.