By Their Hearts Were Full Of Spring
Thirteen pop-folk tales of unrequited longing and cautious optimism sung with the dissipated passion of Jeff Buckley and Peter Perret of the Only Ones. Actually, not thirteen as three tracks are pastoral interludes, giving pause from the languid vocals of singer Markus, whose deft timing and ear for melody gives this album its character.
'A Question Of Trust,' while a well-worn tale of a relationship gone wrong, is quite lovely with the two girls in the band adding depth and counter melodies through delicious backing vocals.
Single 'St. Cecilia' and 'My Big Test' turn the volume up a little, though the lyrics and backing give the impression of a less inspired recent Belle and Sebastian. THWFOS use plenty of instrumentation, a synth, banjo and glockenspiel at various times but to raise the whole above the sum of its parts they should have been braver with arrangements, instrument variations and knowing when a song's job is done.
'Fire Eyes' for example is a perfectly good three and a half minute gentle pop song that carries on doing not much more for another two minutes. Does that make it an epic? No, it makes it a little dreary and exposes the limitations that the band do have. Perhaps they're a little too much of a one man band and Markus needs a stronger musical challenge from inside the band or from a producer with a few ideas?