“Open” by Big Hoax
To be honest modern folk bands have worn me thin. The image that a majority of the bands have decided to portray has become cartoon-like; bearded men all dressed like they came out of a John Steinbeck novel shredding banjo’ and fiddles while leading “hey, ho” chants.
In saying that, it is quite refreshing to find the Baltimore duo of singer/guitarist Luke Alexander and classically trained cellist Stephen Filer, also known as Big Hoax. Unlike their contemporaries Big Hoax’s debut album Open doesn’t rely on trends or gimmicks, the songs are filled with energy, sincerity, and painful beauty in every track.
“Dreaming” is an elegantly simplistic song with some slick production work that carries the listener through a tender and gentle love ballad. While “Over & Over” is raw and energetic romping and stomping tune about a one-sided unhealthy relationship where the narrator realizes his mistakes and longs for love but know’s he’ll continue down his self-destructive path.
The alluring charm of Open is the delicate honesty from singer/songwriter Luke Alexander. Whether the tales are autobiographical or fictional, the candid nature of the songwriting is impressive. Not so much in a wearing the heart on the sleeve cliche, but more bearing what’s inside one’s heart and soul.
It’s an impressive 7-track debut from Big Hoax and with this kind of craftsmanship on their first record, it should make us all excited for what’s to come.