Hot Toast Volume One EP (Static Caravan, 2009)
As you would expect from a band called The Hooves of Destiny, this fine debut EP is fuelled by the desire to escape. Banjo-led opener ‘I Will Return I Promise’ makes this feel like a joyous adventure, more about the thrill of movement and lure of the unknown than desperation.
The dust settles on the country gallop for ‘Cruel Francis’ and ‘Anne Cramb’, which wouldn’t sound out of place in Wes Anderson’s world: meloncholy baroque folk fronted by a gentler Nico. Houghton saddles up one final time for ‘Lillyput’, a slightly more rambling, Carter Family number than ‘I Will Return…’.
Taken as a whole, Hot Toast is a promising debut that shows a young artist prepared to tackle traditional music from both sides of the pond. Her ‘quirky’ image and playful approach to biography is a little marmite-like, but don’t be put off – there’s substance below the surface.
Beth Jeans Houghton plays The Glee Club, Birmingham on 17 February.