The very first band to take the stage this past summer at the Seaside Heights Gentlemen Of The Road Stopover was an Australian indie folk-pop trio who hardly anyone had heard of before. Little May’s music lured me in so much because of their enriching, electric-folk vibe. When they announced they’d be releasing a new album later this year I immediately put them on my watch list. Two weeks ago their debut album hit, and with the studio direction from The National’s Aaron Dessner – who produced the hauntingly beautiful album Bashed Out by This Is The Kit earlier this year – Hannah Field, Liz Drummond and Annie Hamilton are sure to be the talk of the indie music town this fall.
For The Company begins with the chilling, mellow Cicadas, a song dominated by eerie orchestral studio overtones and pretty vocals. Even when I’m not listening to this song the melody on the vocal riff “keep it on your tongue and you let it slide ouuuuuuuut” stays with me. The linger on the word “out” in that melodic phrase is a great study of memorable vocal melodies and is one of the many moments on this album that makes the record a very strong debut.
The first note of the next song Sold hits ears with a powerful rush and the cymbals in the drum beat mirror crashing waves. This transports me back to the shores of Seaside Heights when Little May completely mesmerized the audience and proved their growing talent. This track is my favorite on the album because it contains the strongest mix of memorable melodies and Dessner’s dazzling studio mastermind.
Something about the venue and Jersey shore vibe earlier in June when I first discovered Little May has shaped my brain’s mindset for listening to Little May’s music. Many of their songs besides Sold transport me to a beachy peaceful vibe. The electric guitar in the introduction of Seven Hours creates a subtle ripple effect of a calm sea tide. The high pitched studio overtone that opens up the song Sinks reminds of the seagulls on the beach chirping and then the music kicks in and I begin to feel the warm rays of the sun beaming down and can picture the tinted sunglasses view of the water and beach atmosphere around me.
It’s a special feeling when a band connects with a listener this hard. Especially when a little, May springy/summer vibes can stick with us all year round.
Scott J. Herman