Carswell and Hope / Photo by Fally Afani

Carswell & Hope’s latest EP opens with the locomotive chug of “Cordelia,” a song so thick with tension you could cut it with… well Nick Carswell’s sharp lyrics. As the vocals rise, the guitars grind on, spooky keys drop in, giving “Cordelia” a real prog-folk feel. It’s an epic clocking in at over five minutes, but the pace doesn’t give it a slow burn vibe as much as it does a short fuse waiting for the dynamite to blow.

Exit Plan is Cardwell & Hope at their best; showing off their talents as folk-rock troubadours. The jovial roadhouse rock of “Abilene;” what starts as a ballad on the title track does a complete swerve and turns into beautiful, bouncing pop halfway through before settling down in its conclusion. The bluesy “Nobody Home” will leave a tear in your beer; “The Other Side” lets the band stretch into more alternative rock territory, before the closer “Seraphine” serenades us all into a magic hour dusk. Cardwell & Hope continue to set the bar higher and higher.

Favorite Tracks: “Cordelia” & “Exit Plan”

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