By The Reindeer Section
The Reindeer Section have a good story, and you can find plenty of well researched articles and reviews in the professional press now that Album number 2 on Bright Star Recordings is out. To summarise: recorded in two weeks in Northern Ireland; 25 band members and counting; masterminded by Gary Lightbody of Snow Patrol; started for a charity gig; and so on. Go read.
This amateur reviewer will stick to what he can hear.
Sublime simplicity. No tricks, no frills. Gorgeous tunes and a warm honest delivery. Carefully and economically recorded and mixed to smooth all the parts together. Voices (mostly Gary Lightbody, but with near-choir backing vocals when needed) are all on the breathy side. They're all mature and expressive with it. Roddy Woomble from Idelwild and Aidan Moffat of Arab Strap take the last two songs. I love the Scots accents.
Well played acoustic guitar is prominent, and light percussion and brass, strings and keyboards come in at perfect moments whenever they're needed. The stand out song is "Where I Fall" at the all important track 6 in the heart of the album. One voice, one guitar. Simple is not always the best, but the best things are nearly always simple.
And this is the secret. The massed ranks of the Reindeer Section sound like an intimate solo project. They're all the better for it. All the musicians have been open-hearted and generously creative in their own ways in the service of a simple and brilliant idea. Its music will soothe your soul for the whole Summer. Its message carries patience, honesty, generosity and mutual respect.
"You are my Joy" is the Celtic tinged anthem for 2002 - sung in sorrow as much as hope.
All the tracks are freely available in streaming formats on the web site. Try then buy.