Saturday 7 June 2014

Lone Doe - Bound Out Amongst The Day Flies

EP review by

A little while back we became utterly smitten for the intoxicating delights of Lone Doe. The long-players and EPs, among them 'Window Window' and 'Upon First blush', are all exquisitely crafted journeys that take your hand and lift you up into other worlds (they all come 'name your price' so there truly is no excuse not to have them). Then here we have Lone Doe's new, startlingly good EP 'Bound Out Amongst The Flies'. It dropped into my world a few months back and I almost feel a little guilty in keeping its breathtaking charms to myself all this time. It's become a fixture in my sonic day. Whether sound-tracking a long hot bath or a 6am, number 73 journey to work, its strength, depths and assurity have become friends who I choose to share many things with. There is only one complaint: at a mere four tracks, 'Bound Out Amongst The Day Flies' is near unforgivingly short. All you can hope is that a bigger sibling lands really, really soon.

Lone Doe acknowledges the shadow of Justin Vernon and his many guises, most notably Volcano Choir, but here we find that shadow being cast aside, with songs that sit alongside some of Vernon's best. Like Vernon, Lone Doe has the ability to cover you in a blanket of warmth, cocooning you and leading you through to watch the chrysalis crack and a kaleidoscopic butterfly spread their wings. Rich, undulating swathes of organic synth draw you into 'Heraldry'. Layers of sound then lie upon each other. On the synths go a urgent, captivating guitar, on that a strident drum, flashes of sound dance across your head, ethereal harmonies float down alighting over the layers. There is an expansion of noise filling headspace. A moment of sparsity, where the foundations of sound sparkle before a perfect cresting wave of vocals sweep you up. In lesser hands, there would be the need to push from here to a bells and whistle climax, but by allowing 'Heraldry' to find its own path, we are gifted with an infinitely more rewarding and enriching song.

Without allowing you to catch your breath, angular, biting sonics twist and turn around you, like watching a moth dance with a flame. 'Taste The Iron' is abrasive where 'Heraldry' was warm. And yet the deeper you go into 'Taste The Iron' you become enthralled. It has an early Elbow, Bloc Party taste. An insistent, bleeding piano underpins the angles of sound above it. Lone Doe then delivers one of his most impassioned, earthy vocals that binds 'Taste The Iron', enabling it to grow, unsettle and touch you in equal measure. Stepping away from the vehement pulse of 'Taste...', we are allowed to submerge ourselves in more serene, stately waters. That is not to say that 'No Glory' is by any means a lesser here. It may be the most adventurous and consequently the most rewarding of the 'Bound Out...''s four. Those waters are set on the shores of heartbeat pulsing bass, sky-reaching piano, and topped by utterly mesmerising vocals. It is hard to tell if these vocals are a choir of many, a clutch of a couple or simply perfectly tracked echoes of a single voice. It really doesn't matter. In fact it matters not how 'No Glory' is constructed. There are touchstones of Sigor Ros in the song's mid-point thunderstorm of sound before it spirals onto a plane of wonder, as all instruments drop away and you are floating on nothing more than what seems a thousand massed voices that are somehow many yet one. Enraptured.

Then to the last. Or as we hope, an end to a chapter. 'Door Jar'  has a quiet sonorous rumble echoing through its start, then we are drenched in a elegiac sweep of voice and sound. It hits you like sun through the grey clouds. 'Door Jar' then stretches and unfurls its golden wings. You are soaring with it on warm winds, revelling in its giddy heights, smiling with its encompassing rush. 'Door Jar' is a captivating and soul-stirring end to what maybe Lone Doe's best collection of songs yet. Then when you look closely you see that this was all recorded at home. Hard to take in, so you simply play again.

Lone Doe's website

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