Friday 12 October 2012

Werner - Oil Tries To Be Water

EP review by KevW

These four tracks mark the first outing for Italian acoustic trio Werner, a group whose aim isn't to fit the usual singer-songwriter/folk troubadour mould, nor is it to recreate traditional Italian sounds. The songs on 'Oil Tries To Be Water' sit at a crossroads between universal folk, baroque, dreampop and classical, and the crossroads where these four genres meet is a quite charming and winsome place to be. It's an exceptionally soft record and one that's full of warmth. There are few direct comparisons in the mainstream, although some of Euros Childs' less wacky solo work comes close and there are traces of Nick Drake. Often the basic guitar or piano frameworks for the songs are incredibly skeletal, but cellos and voices add shade to the gaps and make something much more dreamy.

Muted keys, strings and sighing voices are all that comprise 'Valzer For Annie', and this simple approach is highly effective. Guitar is added for 'Homesleeping' and both songs summon a similarly timeless and captivating atmosphere. 'Blue Sea Of Runa' is slightly less fragile, that piano is allowed to chime a little louder and the strings become more prominent, making for the most baroque sounding piece here. Despite this it's still dainty, ornate and delicate. A cover of Daniel Johnston's 'Hey Joe' completes things fittingly, Johnston himself being a master of songs so brittle you daren't even breathe on them. It takes a deftness of touch to carry off music like this in such a manner, and 'Oil Tries To Be Water' is just about as perfectly put together as it could possibly be.

Werner's website

Stream the EP in full

The EP is available from White Birch Records

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