30km Inland – Stolen Shore Lines

30km Inland - Stolen Shore Lines

30km Inland – Stolen Shore Lines

Whilst this Anglo-Spanish enterprise has snuck out a clutch of compilation tracks over the last few years, this is the first full-length outing for the hard-to-file-alphabetically 30km Inland.  Cut by the combined skills of lead arranger/multi-instrumentalist Xavier Martí (Mudo, Continental Film Night), multi-instrumentalist/mixer David Sheppard (Ellis Island Sound, Snow Palms, Continental Film Night et al.), vocalist Inés Naranjo (Winter Cabin), vocalist/lyricist Peter Wix (Continental Film Night) and multi-instrumentalist Juanan Ramos (Mudo), Stolen Shore Lines is the beatific end product of globe-trotting recording sessions spread-out over six years.

Richly eclectic – without distending into dilettantism – the five songs and five instrumentals that make up Stolen Shore Lines are ripe to accompany both soothing sunny Sunday mornings and filmic European panoramas.  From the opening twinkle of the plaintive yet pretty acoustic guitar, piano, woodwind and string framed “Dies Empirics” – which cross-arranges the Penguin Café Orchestra with Nick Drake – it’s clear that 30km Inland’s debut has been built with incredible and loving attention to detail.  Yet crucially, despite or perhaps because of the wealth of talent involved, the record never feels cluttered or over-crowded.

This means that there is plenty of space for divergent ideas to bob up and down without any jarring juxtapositions.  Hence, on the ensuing Naranjo-led delights of “The Deckchair Man” things are peeled-back to an intimate folk ballad with a spacey mid-section; for the wordless “Twilight Picnic” wistful melodica is underpinned by serene Robert Kirby-like strings; within the brisk electro-acoustic Wix-sung “Wharf 77” nods are affectionately made to Yo La Tengo’s bossa nova art-pop diversions; over the lilting ululations and warming instrumental layers of “El Espléndido y Último Adiós” The High Llamas are imagined reworking something from Jim O’Rourke’s classic Eureka; and with “Ferry My Friends To The Shore” the collection concludes with a multi-part suite of chamber music, rippling Steve Reich-like repetitions and aquatic field recordings.

Released to primarily be heard on vinyl – although a digital version is available – Stolen Shore Lines is a long-player that gently demands repeated flips and spins to savour its remarkable range and delicate comforts.  One of this year’s most unexpected treasures…

30km Inland