Lovelace – Lands

Lovelace - Lands

Lovelace – Lands

There isn’t and there hasn’t ever been a shortage of artists making what is variously described as alt. folk, lo-fi and other variations on the description of music that relies much on its tunefulness and less on its instrumentation. A five-piece, Lovelace are songwriter/guitarist Rebecca Whitbread, bassist Petter Grevelius, drummer Bernie Gardner along with Ruth Corey and Hannah Murphy as assistant vocalists, doubtlessly providing additional percussion and perhaps the cello that appears halfway through opening track “B Man”, the keyboard that adds an atmospheric backing to “Everytime It Goes”, other musical and rhythmic interventions that bring added depths to the songs on Lands. It’s just that Lovelace are at their most vital and focused when there are fewer instruments in the studio, which says much about the songwriting and vocal abilities of a band of whom I know little, aside from that Lands is their first full-length release and that the video for promoted track “Moving Train” reveals some wryly humorous imagination at work.

Lands is their first album, but Lovelace’s sound is that of a band very able to develop their songs cohesively in the studio. The song arrangements verge on the minimal while the underplayed production chooses its moments to provide the vocals with added depth when utilising some cleverly timed double-tracking that can emphasise what is Lovelace’s most notable strength, the combined voices of Rebecca, Ruth and Hannah, whose vocalising brings some very effectively choral arrangements to the songwriting. Add to this the determinedly paced drumming of Bernie Gardner, underpinned by Petter Grevelius’s consistent bass-lines, and Lovelace are a band with the necessary impetus to make a significant impression on anyone hearing them for the first time. The songs themselves are relatively uncluttered guitar-based numbers, such as “We Danced”, a song all the more effective for its simplicity, while “Letting” and “Moving Train” both take a more electronica-influenced direction, notably the first of those tracks, its guitar part jarring effectively against the rhythmic counterpoint of the bass and drums as the song and instrumentation take on a noirish aspect. Following on from “Letting”, next track “Her Tor” seems contrastingly light and breezy in its tonal shadings.

There is one very defining moment on Lands though. On my download copy the last track is “Grizzly”, and while there isn’t an uninspired moment on any other part of the album, this is the song where Lovelace take their alt. folk stylings, their choral vocalising and their insistently compelling instrumentation and bring it all together to  near mesmeric effect, a song that should convince anyone hearing it that Lovelace are a band of greater than usual abilities, and one whose music is, I am sure, going to find a receptive audience in the coming months.