Review: Joyce The Librarian – They May Put Land Between Us

 

Joyce The Librarian, a dreamy folk/acoustic quartet from Bristol have now an ethereal debut to their name; They May Put Land Between Us, released on FolkWit Records, a highly anticipated follow-up to their self-released EP The Weight Of The Line. Undeniably the record is best appreciated through headphones, maybe due to this touch of nautical whimsy about it, with opener Traps we ascertain the feeling that we are boarding a boat that then carries us away on a journey out to sea, and has us by no means desiring a return by last track Breakfast Club.

Front man Martin Callingham’s delicate, breathy vocals has the ability to put one under a trance, whilst lyrically, Callingham’s words are quite minimalist, sometimes repeated and at times slightly unfathomable to his listeners. Having said that, inevitably this enables a greater power of hypnosis, due to the instrumental forefront, whilst it prevents a somewhat memorable, catchy sing-back quality – album highlight Follow Me I’m Right Behind You stands its exception. The enchanting repeated line of the title for a rhythmical melody has this spiritual warmth that could carry you through a day of gloom: “Clouds cover your sun, follow me I’m right behind you. All you do can’t be undone follow me I’m right behind you”.

It’s hard to not detect the ecclesiastical vibe to the record that has a very enchanting and warm presence, epitomised beautifully on Communion; the droning minor violin melody coupled with the latter almost church choir female hymnal backdrop, makes for an interesting contrast to the album’s other tracks. At times Callingham bears close to Nick Hemming from The Leisure Society, and if you happen to be fans of the aforementioned then Joyce The Librarian is certainly a band I’d recommend. Turn Yourself In has subtle resonance with The Leisure Society’s Last Of The Melting Snow. Whilst their sombre and dreamy acoustic guitar and piano melodies have resemblances to Kings Of Convenience, traceability to be found with their Scars On A Land to Joyce The Librarian’s Turn Yourself In. Despite little nuances of something that has come before, be sure to be taken to a world of their own creation. Enjoy the journey!

Rachael Crabtree