Monday, 17 June 2013

#123: Stylusboy - Lantern (EP review)

“This is the start, of something beautiful” proclaims Rachel Grisedale, on 'Love's Tale' the second track from Coventry-based Stylusboy's new EP, Lantern, and my god is she right about that. Despite only being four tracks and fifteen minutes long, the third release from the duo is optimistically sincere as opposed to sombre and manages to feel like a fully fleshed out record despite it's stripped down nature. Quaint and candid lyricism is woven in and out of brilliantly simple guitar work in each and every song all the while underpinned by a classic male/female dichotomy that makes the Lantern EP so rich with textures and melody.

'Lantern' kicks off proceedings in a brilliant way; there's elements of Scandinavian indie-pop at play, flecked with aspects of 90s lo-fi and alternative such as Rainer Maria or Park Ave. Conversely, however, the aforementioned 'Love's Tale' is equally as optimistic but ultimately a much gentler and heartfelt track in which both Grisedale and singer/guitarist Steve Jones voices work together over the top of a piano melody and rhythm guitar to form a duality that's often seen in acoustic or folk music, but rarely exhibited this well.

The final half of Lantern is comprised of two live recordings so naturally there isn't as much polish here as the first two. Rather than hampering the overall quality, however, it serves to add to the stripped down nature of the music and heightens the overt sincerity of Jones' lyrics. 'Open' sees the duo make use of some excellent vocal harmonising once again whilst closer 'Jigsaw' features some of the best lyrics on the record.

This entire record is a lesson in what contemporary folk should be. It's romantic, it's nostalgic, it's sincere while always managing to maintain a slight degree of whimsy about itself. There really is not a single thing wrong with this EP. It construes just exactly what it is that Stylusboy are about without ever once feeling trite or repetitive. The music itself isn't breaking any boundaries, and you'll probably think to yourself that you've heard it all before. But have you ever heard done this well?

This article was originally written for Ears On. To visit their site, click here.