The next time someone tries to tell me that The Lumineers or, God help me, Mumford & Sons are updating folk traditions for the masses I’m going to plop them down in a chair and make them listen to The Town Where We Live In, the sophomore offering from Brooklyn-based The Habit, who mingle contemporary Americana with the folk-grounded, punk-infused greatness that powered prime Pogues, Waterboys and X side project The Knitters as well as current Stateside kindred spirits like The Devil Makes Three, Trampled By Turtles and Split Lip Rayfield [seriously, “Break Down The Walls” on the new album is the best Shane MacGowan not actually penned by that semi-toothless whiskey sponge].
Like these quality forebears and contemporaries, it’s the mingling of dead solid musicianship, touching vocals, and especially, great songwriting that elevates The Habit above the norm. It’s a careful dance of elements that requires a kind of sincerity and devotion to music in the larger sense that goes well beyond a desire for notoriety, adoration and riches that poisons too many wells. Even just two albums into their catalog it’s clear The Habit skip with moving dexterity and enlivening energy.
Will Croxton (guitars, vocals, songwriting), Siobhan Glennon (lead vocals, keyboards), Tyler Holzer (mandolin, keys), Brian Mendes (guitars, harmonica, vocals, songwriting), Eli Thomas (bass, guitar, vocals) and Mike Ratti (drums) possess a layered synergy that pleasantly recalls the classic lineups of Fairport Convention and Pentangle or perhaps The Byrds with a healthy estrogen infusion. Like their winning debut, Lincoln Has Won [DI review], The Town We Live In was produced by the great Ivan Julian, a man who keeps only quality company, and the results are direct, engaging, and exciting in ways that don’t seem to always be entirely in control [see the shouting, clattering “Leave Her, Johnny” to see what we mean].
We snagged Siobhan Glennon for a double length 7 Minutes chat where we delved into the ins & outs of being a truly independent band in modern times, making music in Brooklyn and more.