As we’ve learned time and time again, side projects allow us to learn more about our favorite artists. When artists get the chance to work with different styles, collaborators, even leadership styles, the results can be intriguing to say the least. When TJ Foster of The Cast Before the Break began messing around independent of his post-rock group, his experiments in folk and rock became the basis of his side project, Accents.
After releasing his debut record, Growth and Squalor, in 2012, Foster’s Accents soon became a full-fledged group, and the singer/songwriter soon found himself at the helm of an indie folk trio, trying new and expansive things. These efforts culminated in their sophomore effort, Tall Tales, released earlier this year. The group’s latest EP, Small Tales, serves as a companion to their earlier works. Accents bring their A-game with another strong addition to their already strong back catalog.
Accents show off all the facets of their sound that make them who they are. Kicking of the EP, “Down Down Down” is a stand out cut, instantly memorable with its huge production and remarkably happy tone. TJ Foster’s distinct croon complements his wife Lauren’s soft voice. It is arguably the most optimistic track on the record, but that is only because it is just so much so. The other tracks on the EP range from melancholy to intimate, with the climax of “For Now” balanced by the emotional duet between TJ and Lauren Foster on “Panic”. All five songs have a distinctly autumn feel, and are carried by the EP’s folk mentality. However, Accents are not a folk singer with a backing band, they are really a full band, taking from one another to create songs that you can drive around to, or simply unwind with.
Accents stretch themselves beyond the constraints of a typical indie folk group. Their happy songs are happier because of the horns and harmonies. Their big songs feel bigger because of their orchestral scope and intuitive intricacies. Unlike those of the fad that preceded it, Accents’ brand of indie folk is both accessible and dynamic of a quality worth noting. With Small Tales, Accents provide us another great opportunity to show us their strength as musicians and songwriters, an effort that is well worth checking out.