Album Review: Little May – For The Company

For The Company

Released 9th October 2015

littlemay

Words: Julia Grantham
Have you ever wondered if folk music can be cool? Didn’t realise it can get Radio 1 airplay or come in the form of a trio of super cool Australian girls? Read on, dear music fans. You might be in for a very pleasant surprise. I never think that genres are easy to define, nor do I think that categorising bands is easy. But if I had to give Little May a genre or category I would describe them as: ‘Ethereal indie folk rock’. How does that sound? Well, I think words seem futile in being able to convey how beautiful and beguiling the voices of Little May are and the depth of their lyrics deserve to be listened intently to, so I suggest you do just do that. If you want to find out why, before you listen, then please, keep reading! I was fortunate enough to see them perform live recently, as part of their world tour (live review to follow shortly) and then appointed myself to write about this impressive and stunning album. Prepare to be enchanted, moved and bewitched by some beautiful songs. I hope you love this LP every bit as much as I do.

The album opens with the wonderfully and intriguingly named song: Cicadas, which describes those little cricket-like creatures that can be heard late at night in countries such as the band’s native Australia, but which always remind of me of night scenes in American films. The tune opens with a soft rhythmic guitar, almost mimicking the gentle sound of cicadas as night falls. The lyrics immediately make me think of the evening and that period of time late at night when there is nothing but the sounds of nature to be heard, a time for contemplation and reflection and perhaps the line: ‘The way you scratch your back and then you scratch mine too’, is meant to reflect the song’s title. Certainly, cicadas come out every night, cannot be escaped and again this is indicated in the closing line of the song: ‘You’re on my mind again’, emphasising the idea of someone who can’t stop thinking about someone else, almost as if this person inhabits their thoughts every evening, and will always be there, just like the cicadas. A fascinating and clever piece of imagery in a song title.

Beautifully juxtaposed with the LP opener, is: Sold, a song about an ongoing and at times painful relationship; depicting someone describing the struggle of being free from someone else, for example: ‘You were the one with the broken heart, in the night I’m sure I’ll take you back again’. It laments the way that love can make us act in a way we’d rather not, as is expressed in the line: ‘I’m a fool please put me back together on your own’, which is accompanied by wonderful and heart-wrenching violin passages. I love the title of this song; it describes the passive nature of falling in love and the way that love can own you. This song is about a girl falling for someone, who can’t go back and can’t help herself; she is pleading with someone to fix her broken heart. Very moving indeed.

It would be hard for me to pick a favourite song among these, but allow me to tell you of a few others which deserve to be replayed. Seven Hours, is one such song. It opens with a steady post-rock style sound, reminiscent of Mogwai perhaps, and yet a soothing female version, and as the vocals start, we are reminded of the new-wave folk sound that make Little May such an exquisite trio. This song becomes heavier as it goes along, with deep, brooding guitar passages followed by three-part voice harmonies indicating the desperation to be heard. This is further emphasised by the line: ‘Need you to give me back my lungs so my body can forgive me’, almost as if to say the girl in the song needs to find her voice, and sing her way to realisation. A stunningly cathartic track. Another brilliant one is Sinks, with its ever so slightly trip-hop and syncopated rhythm. The tempo is steady and repetitive, making it catchy before it builds into a heavy and powerful cautionary tale of being attracted to someone with a cold heart: ‘I feel the weight of your stone-blooded heart, see how it sinks’, describing a situation when you crave someone who makes you feel as cold inside but also, the idea of a sink filling up with water, spilling over, and having to eventually reconcile the aftermath of it overflowing. Just brilliant. It is almost as if the sink is a metaphor for the whole relationship and as such the message ends with ‘I hope some day we can share it’. However, with that comes the end of a heavy guitar crescendo, acting as a warning; happiness is uncertain and the music towards the end reflects turmoil, emphasised further by eeriely beautiful ethereal voices, almost ghostly and foreboding. I just love this song!

I could write about each and every song on this album, but I will resist the temptation. The final one that I shall tell you about is: Remind Me, which perhaps is the least folksy song on the album and is definitely more rock, or even punk rock/grunge inspired. This is one which makes you want to leap up and dance, especially as the previous songs are slower, and more brooding. The track is full of gritty determined frustration, revealed in the line: ‘Why won’t you be mine?’. There are, however, softer passages when the tempo slows and the voices gain prominence over the music: ‘I can’t stop losing my mind, and I won’t stop ’til I find you’; this line is almost a desperate plea. Such a powerful message, and in fact is in keeping with the whole mood of the album. Lots of heartbreaking and cathartic songs, and a wonderful LP to remind us that love and loss and grief and desperation are all par for course in matters that relate to our hearts. It’s simply beautiful, a fantastic album. I feel so very grateful to have discovered it. Watch out for my live review of Little May. I was not at all disappointed!

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Watch the video for Seven Hours here:

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    Popped Music has been going since Feb 2010.

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