The false start that kicks off “Let Me Let You Down,” the lead track on Run Home Slow, is obviously intentionally left in for the listener. The question is why? It’s pure speculation, but one reason could be that it’s a winking way for The Teskey Brothers to prove that despite the expanded orchestration on this effort- string arrangements, horn sections, and piano- they are still a quartet that cuts an album as a band, live in the studio; organic and pure.
The growth of these Australian blues/soul throwbacks on the follow-up to their widely successful debut, Half Mile Harvest, goes beyond dressing their relatively unembellished songs with additional instrumentation. Their sound is broadened considerably by the new layers, but remains, at its core, anchored by the direct and affecting voice of Josh Teskey, and the stripped-bare shuffles tastefully executed by guitarist and sibling Sam, drummer Liam Gough and bassist Brendon Love. What made their first album work- poignant and considerate musicianship underpinning Josh’s penetrating voice- return here, but it’s far from a retread. Where the foursome shows the most development is in the diversity of their songwriting.
The acapella stomp of “Hold Me,” and the psychedelic rock of “Paint My Heart,” (the latter sounding like an homage to Joe Cocker) are just two of the 11 songs that signify a conscious step forward, even while echoing the soulful late ‘60s era for which the band holds so much respect. It’s almost impossible not to think Otis Redding as Josh scoops the first note, playing against solemn horns, on “Rain,” or hear the funky minor-key grooves of the early ‘70s on “So Caught Up.” Yet, with the warped, whistling riverboat stroll of “Sunshine Baby” and its incandescent bookend, “Sun Come Ease Me In,” the Teskey Brothers’ soul shines in a hazy daydream on this second entry in their catalog as much as it sets seductively into the night.