On Concrete – Pollyanna (Songs&Whispers)
In this rainy day world, kitchens are not for comfort, the sugar, the glow of Christmas treats cannot quietly heal a broken love. But, no! this is no doom and gloom thing at all, when we first hear this band, Her words lay out the facts with a wry acceptance, and his minimal harmonies give her strength.
This acceptance takes on an ambiguity in the next song, A Landscape, her affair here destructive perhaps even fatal, and as she sings ‘..it doesn’t matter if it hurts..’ is that because its worth every bit of pain, or is it that she has, just, given up? The swirls of Electric Guitar here are wonderful because they are simply implied rather than showy or overbearing.
The players switch easily from tender to torrid,(the instrumentation echoes this) sometimes within the same song, their vision of beauty is often spiked, even cruel, and then they switch focus on us and allow shafts of the darkly romantic to blur into the melodies, they make each song seem crowded with possibility.
Songs are allowed to build, to breathe, and to whisper through, notes follow on hesitant notes and the haunting takes place. The uneasy desire is stretched, the wanting tightens internally and like a Hitchcock film of the soul we long for the release the singer craves but cannot quite dare find.
When the traditional ballad ‘Railroad Boy’ slips into place, we the entranced, now haunted listeners are not surprised, these are all in their way death ballads, not always the death of the body though, sometimes the past, the cities, even how nature fades, but again I must stress, these are NO angsty things, rather tales of regret sung to clear the way forward to a different day.
There is nothing wispy about this modern Folk music. The more I listen the more I feel the vitality of these intricate constructions.
It’s an easy album to fall for.
Hear tracks from this album coming up on the NBT Podcast going out on the 8th July 2010