Release Date: Mar 5, 2013
Record label: Republic
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
Inheritance, the major-label debut from Chesapeake, Virginia-based indie folk outfit Last Bison, falls somewhere between Fleet Foxes' expansive, harmony-drenched chamber pop, Mumford & Sons' stadium-blasted folk-rock, Hem's measured, rural Americana, and 16 Horsepower's penchant for turning even the most innocuous lyric into a crossbow bolt of fire and brimstone. On paper, the band, which boasts a cellist, a violinist, and two sets of siblings, the Benfantes and the Hardestys, the latter of whom include their mandolin, banjo, and guitar-slinging associate pastor father, sounds positively sepia-toned, and while there is most definitely a patina of dust and smoke that permeates every nook and cranny of this stoic and spirited collection of self-described "mountaintop chamber music," it never feels like anything other than a 21st century indie folk record, all gang vocals, swelling strings, and implied high-fives. As one would expect from the group's non-secular pedigree, penchant for old-world colloquialisms, and love for Civil War illustrations, faith plays a large role on the 11-track collection, and while it's not as shapeless and generic as it is in the Mumford camp, it never comes across as proselytizing.
The Last BisonInheritance(Republic)Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars With folksy fervor and acoustic eclecticism, The Last Bison charge onto the Americana scene with the release of their excellent, second full-length record, Inheritance. The seven member-group, based outside of Chesapeake, Virginia, blends rootsy arrangements with classical sensibilities to offer their unique spin on indie folk. After a recent name change from Bison to The Last Bison, the band delivers on their debut for a major label, Universal Records.
Given the way such trends usually go, in five years or so virtual recycle bins and maybe even literal used CD bins will be overstocked with albums from the Early 2010s Folk Revival. Mumford & Sons, the Lumineers, Of Monsters and Men…will any of them still have vital careers, or will they be doing the secondary stages at the State Fair? It’s curious that Chesapeake, Virginia septet The Last Bison have not yet made that shortlist. If you get the impression they have ridden the coattails of the fleeting folk-pop trend, their story is nothing if not authentic.