It’s rare to get a second chance at a first impression. In part because it’s equally rare for us to get a break from the hectic humdrum of modern life to afford us a moment for reflection and reinvention. But then again, it’s not every day that the whole world grinds to a halt, and offers up an unparalleled opportunity to look at things from a new perspective. It was an opportunity that transatlantic duo Samuel Taylor and Rebecca Van Cleave seized to the fullest, and in doing so found the missing piece, the essential capstone, for their latest musical endeavour. Embracing life in the slow lane while recording in the Peak District village of Tideswell, the pair developed a deeper appreciation for the beauty of nature around them, as well as for the profound power of human connections and the joy of collaboration. All the things that we all too often take for granted came into focus, and in doing so informed and inspired what would become their debut EP And You, And Me.
The gothic mystique of ‘Bramble Lane‘ evokes the kind of unchanging forests and ageless moorlands where the noise and bustle of modern life loses all meaning, while the slow build of ‘The Hawkmoon and The Hurricane’ culminates in a rousing sing-along climax. The anthemic ‘Evelyn’, with its bright driving piano melody, is reminiscent of The Lumineers, and boasts a sublime soaring harmonica solo. The carefree country twang of ‘Green, Blue‘ shares the idyllic bliss that comes from just living in the moment and basking in all the little forgotten shimmers of everyday beauty, while the title track offers a reminder that those same moments are best experienced when shared with those dearest to us. With the duo taking their name from a Nikita Gill poem which remarked that “kindness is the greatest endangered thing“, I find myself thinking that while the kindness shown for each other and our world is often in short supply, the kindness we show ourselves is even rarer. Here is a reminder that a moment of reflection is sometimes the greatest gift you can give yourself when life threatens to overwhelm you. Haunting as a misty moor, bright and welcoming like a cosy cottage, with a light, uplifting flutter like new love in bloom, this EP is just the kind of escape you owe it to yourself to indulge in.
The Greatest Endangered Thing’s debut EP And You, And Me is out now, and is a must for fans of Gregory Alan Isakov, Hollow Coves and The Lumineers