(...) Agam’s voice a rich cocktail of dark molasses and sweet honey (particularly bluesy on ‘Tumbleweed’) while Mahew provides warm harmonies and counterpoints. Wisely, she dominates, with her other half only taking lead on three numbers, uptempo strummed folk rocker ‘I’ve Seen The Rain’, released as a single last year and one of the two new tracks, Winter’s story of his brother’s romantic travails and ‘I’ve Just Seen A Face’ which, taken at a slower pace and rhythm than the original, is one of two Beatles covers included.
Although his banjo makes its presence felt (especially on the slow waltzing, stripped down ‘Salt Water’), as with Sivan’s vocals, it’s the cello that dominates, giving a dark, earthy tone, fleshed out with violin, mandolin and bouzouki on several tracks, the latter pair evident alongside upright bass on the jazzy cabaret rhythms of ‘The Protest Song’.
his album is not just good, it is quite simply stunning. The guitars are simple and effective, the vocal harmonies are sublime, the cello, at times playful, at more times it is sinister and brooding, controls the atmosphere and mood with confidence and seems to, on more than one occasion, cheekily allude to the band's influence... And believe me, these guys wear their influences on their sleeves while all the time managing to avoid any direct comparisons. There are obvious moments of Damien Rice, but then, Fleet Foxes show up out of nowhere. One of the records strongest moments Don't Let The Bastards Bring You Down feels like KT Tunstal mixed with an Ennio Morricone Spaghetti Western soundtrack. My personal favourite The Protest Song, blends seamlessly once again the dramatism of Morricone with reggae, blues and a wonderfully surprising saxophone moment that would sit as well on Dark Side of the Moon as it does on this album.
This album has moments of great ambition, but also has a grasp on subtlety and glorious simplicity that should not flow as effortlessly from one song to the next as it does...but it really does. Running gracefully from dramatic and bold to soft and emotional, this album has blown me away, surprised me and manàged to keep me intrigued for the greater part of it's, all too short, 45 minute duration. This is all before I've even mentioned The Beatles covers...
(2 U I Bestow)