Joyce The Librarian – They May Put Land Between Us (Review)
Review by Jack Foley
JOYCE The Librarian have found themselves pigeon-holed loosely between folk and indie but they have caused a genuine stir on the acoustic scene, winning fans wherever they play.
Their album, They May Put Land Between Us, offers an often charming indication of why they have been able to generate such warmth of feeling.
Quietly assured, often beautifully so, they specialise in tightly constructed songs that are rife with melody and heartfelt sentiments.
Former single, Follow Me, I’m Right Behind You, was a classic case in point… a song that gently sweeps you off your feet (it was a former IndieLondon record of the week). Showcasing honest, personal and acutely melodic song-writing, it’s gentle and begging to be played more.
There’s a whiff of Surfjan Stevens and Simon & Garfunkel about it, too, that shows how they take their cues from the classics.
If that is the one genuinely standout moment, then there are still moments to savour. Opening salvo Traps unfolds amid restrained acoustic guitar licks, a subtle marching drum style beat and some softly-softly vocals from Martin Callingham that are belatedly augmented by some lush female harmonies.
Turn Yourself In is a lovely folk ballad that’s augmented by the under-stated violin of Kate Fox, Land (a title track of sorts) adds trumpet and flugelhorn from Jim Cormick, but never in a brash way, and there’s a disarming sorrow surrounding the instrumentation on Communion, which renders it impossibly sad (especially once those lush female harmonies are added).
Still Sleeping, meanwhile, provides another highlight with its intricately woven acoustic licks and backing vocals from Houdie (who also contributes some chimes), while there’s almost a mini symphony going on around Dolly Parton (which once more draws nicely on the violins of Kate Fox).
They May Put Land Between Us may be too subtle and under-stated for some tastes and may well struggle to make a splash on the mainstream by virtue of its quietness. But for those willing to give in to its indie-folk style, there is much to admire and enjoy.
It’s a nice album to chill-out too.
Download picks: Traps, Follow Me, I’m Right Behind You, Turn Yourself In, Still Sleeping