When you start a record out with a track as fantastic as “American Beauty,” you’ve set yourself a very high bar to clear on whatever cuts must follow. Luckily enough for Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors, they have the talent and the songs to do it — not every time, but enough to make their Medicine go down nice and easy.
The real, well, beauty of “American Beauty” is its simplicity. For the most part, it’s a gentle, acoustic ballad with some ambient guitars and muted drums. But Holcomb’s handling of the song’s heartache is what really makes it work. He leans into the gratitude for what he once had, rather than the sorrow for what he’s now lost. That’s not a stance often taken in music… or life. And it makes that track a standout.
Further in, Holcomb and company pump up the volume and energy to great effect on “Tightrope,” “Shine Like Lightning,” and “I’ve Got You.” To be sure, these aren’t a bunch of laid-back, shoe-gazing folkies. In the middle of the set, the tempered soul of “Avalanche,” the throwback folk-rock of “Heartbreak,” and the acoustic waltz of “You’ll Always Be My Girl” are at once fresh and familiar. You’ve heard something like this before, but not quite. Along with “American Beauty,” that trio of tunes really serves as the tonic of Medicine, for they will cure what ails you.

This article originally appeared on Folk Alley.