The title track effortlessly showcases his ability to shift from the soft, low-key tones of the opening to the hard hitting powerful and electric high notes, reminiscent of Kristian Matsson (aka The Tallest Man On Earth). Likewise, the guitar lightly strumming in the background slowly develops throughout with the addition of thundering drum beats over his intricate voice.
Lyrically, Banfi cites Springsteen’s Nebraska as his greatest influence when it comes to storytelling. While this happens to be a personal favourite of mine and reference to it would ingratiate me to anyone, Banfi doesn’t need to gain favour in this way. His haunting cover of the American folk classic ‘Where Did You Sleep Last Night?’, popularised by Nirvana, takes on an entirely new feel to Cobain’s version, comparable to another of his heroes, Nick Drake and his ‘Cello Song’ in particular. However, Banfi doesn’t completely shrug off his grunge roots, choosing to end the otherwise slow and melancholic song with a grand display of his resilient acoustic guitar and drilling higher pitch, a prevailing theme throughout the EP.
Continuing on the note of American culture, ‘See You At Home’, the final track on the EP, is a song inspired by Cormac McCarthy’s, ‘The Road’ (another tick!). The song finishes very suddenly leaving the listener wanting more but accepting what was inevitable from the outset and reinforced by the bleak subject matter that the song and therefore the EP must come to an end.
Last but not least, the first and probably catchiest track on the EP, ‘Guts and Bones’. After a tender start the song picks up pace to reveal an interesting dimension of Banfi’s talent. While much of the rest of the EP prevalently contains dark undertones, ‘Guts and Bones’ is unmistakably upbeat but retains the sinister element that drives this record.
Joe Banfi released the 'Iron EP' on the 24th September through Communion Records. He is currently touring the UK.
Words by Nico Evans