Friday, 18 February 2011

The Complete Short Stories - Perfectly Still

(Written for Pi Magazine. Check out the site. Go on.)

In Perfectly Still, we are presented with an indie album conceived with more thought than is typically associated with the genre tag. Whilst the songs occasionally stray the border between genuinely endearing and a bit twee, the intricate vocal patterns and light instrumentation show a flair for immersive song-writing and help light up the relatively mellow but lively nature of the album. The Complete Short Stories are surprisingly diverse in their sound, at moments sounding like She & Him and at others, reminiscent of latter day Anathema. For instance, ‘Value The One You Love’ starts off a subdued number but is built up with meticulous musical texturing that sees surprisingly heavy, distorted strings juxtaposed against a harmonious piano, all accompanied by the perpetually serene vocals of Kerry Adamson. Indeed, Adamson’s voice is one of the biggest highlights of the album as she effortlessly floats above the backdrop of mild musical experimentation. Of course, as with most albums, there are a couple of dull moments – for instance, closer ‘Two Acrobats’ doesn’t quite connect – but this is made up for by tracks such as ‘Struggle On’, an initially restrained number that cautiously erupts a third in, and the memorable ‘Fish Food’ which brags a hugely infectious chorus.

Ultimately, The Complete Short Stories bring some welcome variety in to the world of indie, letting folk and even some prog influences subtly infiltrate the music, in the process creating an interesting dynamic of soundscapes. Whilst this won’t be for everyone, Perfectly Still is an engaging album and is great for an evening chill out.

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