Holy Folk! This is not my usual genre of choice. But as I continue to listen to the introductory song ‘Traps’ on the latest album ‘They May Put Land between us’ by my new favourite name for a band ‘Joyce the Librarian. I realize this has a lot more to offer than a rather monotonous toothless man on a banjo (Yes I succumb to stereotypes). The slow, methodical, introverted type of song writing forces you to take a step back and truly listen. The lush, tranquil vocal nudges you along with a tender touch until you are all but immersed in the Library of utmost serenity. I reckon nothing other than a monastery would evoke such a calmness and sense of wellbeing from within.
If you get the opportunity, I would strongly suggest you seek out the video to this next track. The first single to be released from the album is entitled ‘Follow me I’m right behind you’ and is accompanied by a wonderful portrait of real, honest civilians. The incredibly simple concept of linking together an endless collage of varying emotions in the faces of everyday people immediately serves as a connection to the listener as well as being the perfect illustration of their simplistic theme. Musically it is one of the more commercially appealing tracks on the album. The artists soft, whispering tone makes it feel like he’s telling you a secret. A truly heart-warming little song that will leave you with a warm fuzzy feeling and asking really – what is the point in getting stressed out about…anything! Its simplicity is mentally contagious.
‘Land’. A cleverly placed track. Just as you’re beginning to become accustomed to the artists simplistic style, it throws in a wonderfully retro sounding brass injection swept along by a frivolous drum beat and playful guitar melody. I almost imagine the instruments playing themselves in an innocent, playful, carefree manner. It takes on a life of its own as the soft tap of the percussion comes in to politely take you by the hand and swirl you around, carrying you beautifully along like the latest strictly come dancing ballroom recruit. The music gently flows and writes itself, with the vocal lacing it with a liquid honeyed coating. This man is like a Halls Soother in your ear.
Put aside the camembert for a moment and allow yourself to be transcended to a happier place… ‘Over Dinmore’ is a track I want to listen to on Christmas Day, whilst gazing out from my window, watching the snow gently falling on top of giggling children testing their latest toys without a care in the world. Could I paint anymore of a picturesque, sickeningly sweet scene? This is what this album does! It transforms even the most cantankerous of folk into an epitome of enlightenment.
‘Maurice Ward’ is an easy listening little ballad providing an insight to the bands locality. There’s no unnecessary extravagance, just the singer, his guitar and these wonderful brass instruments that seem to hijack the song for just a second to transport you back to a simpler time. It may prove a little too much to bear for those with a shorter attention span in which case it should come the warning; Drink coffee intermittently as you may fall into an accidental coma.
Other tracks like ‘Breakfast Club’, ‘Dolly Parton’ and ‘Communion’ each have their own idiosyncrasies. Haunting choir boy vocals, orchestral violin symphonies and rather ambiguous culminations, they are perfect filler tracks. This plus the injection of brass instruments is a wonderful and complementary addition to an otherwise solely acoustic album. The brass inclusion gives a wonderfully nostalgic feel, where this bold 4 piece from Bristol show they aren’t afraid to avoid all potentially tempting modern day embellishments and instead embrace all that is humble. Uncomplicated melodies, soothing vocals and delicate almost methodical plucking of those guitar strings allow you to objectively take a step back and not only listen whole heartedly to this stunningly put together album but take stock of what’s important in an ever growing frenzied lifestyle.
◀ STANDOUT ⁞ Land ▶
◀ SOUNDS LIKE ⁞ Bombay Bicycle Club ▶