Been listening to this for a while now, but seen precious little about it on the web, so here’s my ten penn’orth.
Comprising Hugh Marsh, whizz on electronically treated violin, Don Rooke on a variety of fretted and slide guitary things, with Michelle WIllis on vocals and pump-organ the album oozes class as you would expect from such experienced players. Marsh’s sonic weirdness is reined in and tastefully applied, whilst Rooke’s expert slidings are deftly placed to enhance the song, Willis’ organ providing a wheezy chordal base allowing her voice to huskily whisper amongst the sounds or to soar over in a delightful fashion.
Lyrically inventive, witty and thoughtful, the songs have a subtle cohesion in their collective mood, making this a perfect album to settle down with accompanying a glass of wine or two around the fire on a cold evening. That’s not to say there isn’t the slightly left-field excursion – Left at the Prairies feels slightly more off kilter with it’s slightly militaristic syncopated snare pattern, whilst Honey Drip feels like carnality incarnate (!), and the song perhaps most Henrys Like (Rooke’s and Marsh’s other band) is the shuffling Reputation Girl, but even this never gets close to a Lipstick, Ferrous Scrap, with its Mary Margaret O’Hara warbling. This is no bad thing, as something that extreme here, would jar, and Michelle Willis is a much sexier singer anyway!
I suppose if I were forced, I’d probably say anyone who likes Norah Jones but is slightly disturbed by her MOR tastefulness, would really warm to this, these guys can really play (and sing – and I really think this is much finer piece of work than anything I’ve heard from NJ since her debut) and due to the bands low key nature it seems a great shame that this may never be better known and enjoyed. They do have quite a web presence, and update on Twitter, and you can preview a lot of their stuff on soundcloud. Go on, give them a go, they are available from all legit download outfits, just look and then listen.
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