Thursday, 4 July 2013

Lone Doe - Window Window

Album review by

Every now and again, and usually when you are least expecting it, a quite special and wonderful surprise comes along. These gifts are as varied as people are, then I was lucky enough to have one of my own earlier today when I stumbled across Lone Doe and his new album 'Window Window'. The are some glaring comparisons that could be made to the much lauded Justin Vernon and his Bon Iver guise, and they can't be wholly ignored. Similarly to how 'Emma…' enchanted us and quickly became iconic rather than plagiaristic by purely the strength and magic of those songs, Lone Doe similarly transcends any such lazy reflections by allowing us the pleasure that is 'Window Window'.

You are ushered into the album with 'Nightfall, St Paul's', and elegiac strains guide you in. You feel the night drawing in and an amber streetlight haze adorning everything, a simple, stealing cleanser of ambient sounds to focus you into the following song, 'Self Portraits'. Hushed, mesmerising vocals make passage around you, as the song gently builds, one step at a time, like a summer's breeze lifting you on it's warmth. It's hard to perfectly hear words, then that matters not one bit, it just adds to the hushed beauty. Joyously rushing at you with an almost unexpected electric buzz, 'Leon Leon' picks you up in a dazzling burst of colour and noise. Like Sigur Ros at there most organic and human, 'Leon Leon' is a thrill that you want again as soon as it is over. Wisely, Lone Doe doesn't try to hit another high, he steps it back down, bathing us in a glow and richness that has a wonder as full as the thrill of 'Leon Leon'. So 'Scarlet Battalions' graces us with it's singular beauty. Here the use of a cello and deliciously played acoustic entrances, which adds a depth and texture. Ghostly, echoed vocals give another subliminal layer to the song's subtle majesty.

'Little Gesture' is an all-too-brief seductive piano piece, so fleeting that you simply ache for it to be longer than its 87-second life. But not one of those seconds is wasted; a more melodic cousin to Bon Iver's 'Babys'. After 'Little Gesture''s grace, 'The Savages' opens with dashes of birdsong before breaking into an expansive modern folk song. 'The Savages' harks back to the folk song that connects universally by the sheer effortless nature of the song. If there is a criticism, than it is too brief, and almost yearns to be longer to allow you and the song to find even greater connection and depth. And so we are taken to 'Window Window''s end with 'Vivid Dream II'. Awash with sounds that twist and turn, yielding a entrancing soundscape built with an almost Caribou/Four Tet style to close us out in beguiling fashion. James Smith as Lone Doe has given us a near remarkable collection of songs that seem to encompass so much, and certainly touch you deep, and most of all as you play again, you know that each play will reward you further.

Lone Doe's website

Stream or download the EP

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