On their latest release, Yes, My Love, I Am Reaching, Chicago folk group Magical Beasts have crafted a laid back EP, filled with lush orchestrations and sophisticated lyrics. Led by Nathan Paulus on vocals and guitar, and featuring John Herbst on vocals, banjo and ukulele, and Josh Miller on vocals and bass, the group recruits like-minded Chicago musicians on their recordings, fostering a sense of collaboration.
Opening track "Come To Me" begins with some gentle acoustic guitar picking accented by pedal steel courtesy of Ethan Pikas. The song is a duet between Paulus and Katie Stimpson and both singers give passionate vocal takes. The song is a slow burn, in no hurry to reach its conclusion, but its dreamy soundscape and breathy vocals make the journey worthwhile. Stylistically, the track would fit in nicely on Robert Plant and Alison Krauss' Raising Sand.
"7 Nights" follows and is more of the same, with Paulus this time being joined by Jess McIntosh on vocals and violin. Herbst's banjo punctuates the gentle song effectively while McIntosh adds some emotive violin lines to the track. McIntosh returns for the beautiful ballad "Darling," a warm track that builds in intensity as more instruments are layered upon each other.
The group picks up the pace on "Little Buds, a bluegrass stomper with killer harmonies and violin courtesy of McIntosh and a simple, yet driving drum beat from Matt Carroll. The EP closes as it began, with the laid back "Farthest Shore," showcasing a haunting vocal from Paulus and excellent backup vocals from Stimpson and Sharon Hoyer. Richly orchestrated, the song ends the proceedings on a strong note.
Magical Beasts have crafted an excellent EP, filled with beautiful melodies and heartfelt vocals. Lovingly orchestrated, the tracks beg for deeper listening, making Yes, My Love, I Am Reaching, definitely worth a listen.