In recent years, the concept of "London-based folk acts" has been somewhat tainted by the rat-tailed, banjo-strumming degeneracy of Mumford and his spawn, but on Tuesday Wovoka Gentle went a long way to restoring dignity to the scene with an enchanting set at Rich Mix.
Although there may be some debate about whether their multi-faceted, cinematic soundscapes constitute “folk” in the typical sense, twin sisters Ellie and Imogen Mason, alongside William J. Stokes, nevertheless evoked that genre's structural complexity but melodic directness with inventiveness and charm.
Critics have had a tendency to compare them to Grizzly Bear, and the majestic likes of "They Mostly Come At Night Mostly" certainly had an air of Droste-osity, but there are also legitimate parallels to be made with Dirty Projectors and Haiku Salut, especially with their creative use of harmonies and samples. However, the talented multi-instrumentalists betray too much individuality and eclecticism to be comfortably pigeonholed into any given sound, and that proves to be their greatest asset.
Concluding their hour-long set with an unexpected acoustic encore amidst the audience (their most straightforwardly trad-folk moment), Wovoka Gentle successfully proved that modern British folk doesn’t have to be derivative or twee, whilst also establishing themselves as one of the most promising new acts this city has to offer.