littlebow – Three (Rural Colours)
Another instalment of delightful, pastoral folk music with a brilliant light and breezy touch from the band built around the very prolific Katie English and Keiron Phelan.
Brona McVittie has joined on harp and vocals for their third album to add to the already intoxicating mix of guitars, flutes and clarinets.
The irresistible ‘Some may transition’ is a perfect example, being the aural equivalent of a picture perfect summer meadow, a gorgeous dreamy atmosphere with just a hint of the exotic (could be those cascading harp glissandos) reminiscient of Eden Ahbez, maybe if he’d been English instead of American.
The press release uses a phrase, “kitsch utopianism”, which I like because it suggests they are interrogating the very idea of happiness as opposed to simply trying to evoke it.
To this end, you’ll find a sumptuous minimalism-meets-romanticism guitar flute and harp three hander in ‘The last summer of the century’.
‘The singing sands’ is for all the world like a childhood daydream, Phelan’s wistful guitar figure playing off English’s sombre flute until reality returns in the shape of field recordings of traffic.
McVittie’s beautiful unadorned vocals take centre stage for ‘The swing that creaks for the child that weeps’, a deceptively simple piece in waltz time, but filled with warm fuzzy psych detours.
It is all drifting and hazy and burnished, summery, maybe not as we think of summer in this part of the world these days, but the memory of summer.
It is unusual and beautiful pop music.