Alt Sounds Review: Joyce The Librarian – They May Put Land Between Us

Lovely review of the equally lovely album by Joyce the Librarian:

“Autumn is officially here, with skies cast in a permanent grey hue, the leaves dropping from their withered branches as the cold wind whips around you. Sounds depressing doesn’t it? That all depends on you’re outlook, and who you have to keep you company. With the debut full length album from Joyce the Librarian as company, Autumn doesn’t seem that bad.

The Bristol-based band, lead by singer/songwriter Martin Callingham, have crafted a hauntingly beautiful album with an emotional sensitivity befitting their subtle tone. They May Put Land Between Us is the perfect accompaniment to autumn, intricate but slow finger-picking and wandering piano fit so well with the brash range of colours on the wilted trees remaining leaves, and warm you up from the inside with a combination of charming folk and poignant optimism.

Almost title track ‘Land’ (they mention putting “land between us” several times), is a delectable mixture of cello, organ and finger-picked guitar. The instrumentals fit so well together it recalls to mind the high points of Neutral Milk Hotel or Get Cape.Wear Cape.Fly. The near-whispered vocals of the track suit the feeling of hopeful optimism absolutely, as if speaking up too loudly would prevent reality from sinking in.

Songs like ‘Communion’ capture the group’s deftness with a tune, allowing it to grow into itself through carefully layered harmonies. This intelligent approach runs through the album and lends it a more cinematic appeal, each song sounds ideal for the soundtrack to a dark, but moving film that has yet to be made, instilled with a hope all to devoid in the pessimism of other modern folk acts.

At times the Bristol-based group bring to mind early Simon & Garfunkel, but Joyce The Librarian are in truth a much more fully-formed piece, exercising a mature realism in their writing that competes with the blind hope running through the tone of every track. Closing song ‘Breakfast Club’, with it’s quiet but moving insistence, is a contender for best folk track of 2012, and that’s despite strong competition from several other seasoned folk artists.

One of the most prevalent things to take from this debut is it’s confidence (particularly for a first full-length album), astute lyrics working alongside a delicate melody to form a profoundly touching piece of music. “Our day will come” sing the duo on ‘Land’, and, with T.M.P.L.B.U, you know that day can’t be far off.”
– Ben G, Alt Sounds

Read the full review here.

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