"I could also detect that there's the odd nod towards Ride or Chapterhouse; listening to See Saw conjoured up images of the early 90s shoe-gazing scene I can tell you. Still, it's an interesting route to take, so long as they don't become too insipid."
Pellumair – Summer Storm
I quite like this LP you know. I know nothing about them and wasn't expecting too much to be honest. One look at the lyrics printed in the booklet nearly stopped me – cynical sod that I am, - in reviewing this. I find that lyric booklets are always a mistake; what might sound incredibly effective accompanied by stirring music can sound like the worst sixth form poetry when left naked for all to see on the page. And these particular lyrics - coupled with a spectacularly boring cover – led me to draw a very unfavourable conclusion before I'd even heard it. Bands! You have been warned!
Anyway, in the case of Pellumair, the songs are very good, sometimes ascending to beauty but all veer sonically between epic and intimate with surprising ease. As a band, Pellumair handle dynamics very well. This confidence is particularly noticeable on the opening track, Side for This, where an acoustic meditation soon gives way to a grand sweep of guitars, pianos and strings. There's a crispness in the songwriting and arrangements that gives a real edge to the smooth, soothing vocals. This edge is important in Pellumair's scheme of things, for if it is list then the music could become rather insipid. As it stands, there's the merest hint of Nick Drake here, albeit in a much lusher, more epic guise. Painted Over is another whispered love song with a thumping guitar backdrop and another song that doesn't outstay its welcome (thankfully none of them do).
Summer Storm as a record is very much in the English Pastoral tradition. I do not doubt that the band listen to Kate Bush, for example. Or, for that matter, very much like Spaceman 3; albeit a Spaceman 3 doing pastoral ballads. Summer Storm is a very nice, clever almost devotional set of songs. The track Seventy is a good example of their leanings. I could also detect that there's the odd nod towards Ride or Chapterhouse; listening to See Saw conjoured up images of the early 90s shoe-gazing scene I can tell you. Still, it's an interesting route to take, so long as they don't become too insipid.
Overall, it's a deeply untrendy record and its smooth devotional nature won't be to everybody's taste, but sod it. I enjoyed it. Doubtless they'll have downloads to check out for yourself.
Words: Richard Foster.