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Net Feature/ Protestant Work Ethic: "Turned, and Turning EP"

img  Tobias

When two related events happen at the same time, Special Agent Dale Cooper was eager to point out, there can never be a coincidence. So what to make of the simultaneous report that Garth Brooks has officially been confirmed as the best selling artist in American history and the release of Protestant Work Ethic's „Turned and Turning EP“?

While Brooks approaches Country with the instrumentation of Soft Rock, the bublegum-immediacy of Pop and the cool professionalism of the Nashville production machinery, Simon Usaty steps into the limelight bare and with nothing but his voice, a guitar, an ukulele, an accordeon and a banjo. On record, even more than in the live situation, when his quietly blossoming songs are supported by some of his closest friends, Usaty's music is a more accurate psychocardiogram than any shrink could ever devise.

Having said that, some of the pieces collected here, two of them instrumental, date back quite some time. In fact, „Turned and Turning“ is a sort of „Best Of“ culled from Usaty's debut album released in 2005 and therefore reflects his sentiments in a backwards-mirror. On the other hand, for a music as timeless and – to a certain degree – nostalgic as this one, that may actually be a good thing: Doesn't looking into the past bring us up to date with our current emotions, after all?

So maybe that is what this work is: A glance over one's shoulder with a smile and a tear. Usaty sings with a soft, unagitated and consolingly sad voice, as if delivering a lullaby, his tracks are coloured in the warm bronzen timbre of Country and Folk and do not need triumphant chorusses to leave an impression – even though songs like bittersweet opener „Set Out to take On“ or the aching „Clap Clean Hands“ both have plenty melodic power. And when Simon holds his breaths and lets his instruments speak, the EP sinks even deeper into its reverie.

As the press release correctly points out, this kind of music is not all too often being written in Europe, where it often ends up as epigonism or as a fantasy detached from reality. On the other hand, Protestant Work Ethic are not a roots band. To Usaty, these genres are merely tools for expression, rather than blueprints for a quasi-cover approach. Cooper was wrong: There is no relation whatsoever between Garth Brooks and these timeless tunes.

By Tobias Fischer

Homepage: Protestant Work Ethic
Homepage: 12Rec

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