On the rise Sheffield psych-folk trio
Experimental folksters Polyhymns have been bandmates in various groups for years. The Sheffield-based trio of Sam Smith, Andrew Bolam and Gavin Harris previously worked together as folktronica outfit Little Glitches, before a change of tack and a new name. As Polyhymns, they’re certainly getting up a head of steam. Their debut EP, ‘Hybrid Sunday’, came out on hometown label Do It Thissen in September last year, while their current EP, the Tunng-like ‘Let Them Be Animals’, was mixed by Mike Lindsay (who else?). Esteemed Warp co-founder Rob Gordon also mastered both EPs, so quality is assured.
The band’s moniker comes from “Polyhymnia”, who was muse of sacred music, song, poetry and dance in Greek mythology. “We’ve got quite a few directions going on, so the idea of many types of music made sense,” says Smith. Certainly, their sound is as varied as the Sheffield landscape – “urban decay to lush countryside”, as Bolam describes it. Working from a studio in a listed Victorian cutlery works, their quirky electronic psych-folk betrays a love of warm acoustic pop and cutting edge Sheffield bleep, with discernible nods to the likes of Neil Young, Nils Frahm, Lemon Jelly, Smog and ISAN. Quite the melting pot. The gorgeous ‘Down With The Kids’ (from ‘Let Them Be Animals’) is a real standout, with supple, throbbing bass and an oscillating shimmy that gives you a proper rush.
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Currently working on new material, there are more releases and live shows in the pipeline for 2022, plus remixes by the likes of Loraine James, A’Bear, Pulselovers, Survey Channel, Cobbler, Hannya White and Whettman Chelmets – expect those to see the light of day soon. In the meantime, tune in to the trio’s online CAMP radio show, which features a curated mix of ambient, folktronica and other enchanting curios.
‘Let Them Be Animals’ is out on Static Caravan