“Shimmering, moody indie-folk”: For the Company – Little May (Album Review)

There have been some exciting new acts emerging from Australia recently and Sydney based three-piece Little May are among them.  Their debut album For the Company arrives with some buzz, lead by the excellent single Hide.

For the Company features thirteen tracks and is richly produced without being slick.  The lyrics and vocals are rich, edgy and emotional.  The music itself is a shimmering, moody indie / folk sound that is just the right side of quirky.

Throughout the album they make use of harmonies but rather than these being used to play off each other, they are layered on top of each other to create a thickly woven sound that is haunting and evocative.

The album starts with the taut, edgy Cicadas.  This folksy, chilled out track features a strong vocal track that builds up to a rich chorus.  This is followed by the more up-tempo Sold which is a bit more upbeat too.  Lovely, wistful lyrics mark it apart from average tracks of its type.

The dark, edgy, yearning sound of Home is next, which was a lead out single for the album and featured a music video shot in New York.  This song, full of a lost sounding homesickness is a beautiful, rich song and could be a major calling card for this band.

Things take a slower turn for the witty, off beat Oh My My.  Taking a bit more of a folk root and sounding like early PJ Harvey.  This is followed by the soulful, downbeat Bow and Arrow.  A slow, wistful and somewhat sad song that flows around a strong piano and guitar that weave together like a whirlpool.

The excellent Seven Hours is next.  A rich, glowing sound that is evocative, sweelty produced and features some haunting, witty lyrics.  Warm summer tinged guitar floats through the track as the vocals reverberate between a keening call and warm reflection.  When the chorus kicks in, the deft production work and the gorgeous harmonies are just a boy to listen to.

There is a breather with the slow, moody Chemicals.  A much more introspective track that is lyrically complex.  This is then juxtaposed to the playfully uptempo sound of Sinks that almost sounds a bit like Aimee Mann.  Glittery guitar is weaved around breathy, gentle vocals.

An abrupt shift of gears sees Little May play punk infused rock with Remind Me which showcases the bands range of musical influences.  Coming across as brash but far from uncultured, Remind Me is a welcome change of pace.  The guitar work is well focused and retains that same glowing sound that infuses the whole album.

There’s another down-shift to the more introspective Where Do You Sleep.  Whilst the song is strong and lyrically deep, it feels somewhat similar to some of the other tracks on the album.  The Shine is Brighter at Night again feels like an Aimee Mann song.  The lyrics are playful, witty and emotional and the song is built around deft piano work.  The percussion adds an edge to the song.

The dark, rich and haunting Hide is next.  A fine piece of dark indie-pop, this song has some of the darkest and more haunting lyrics of the whole album and the use of the harmonies again give this track a sound that is enough to make the hairs on your neck stand up.

The outro track Boardwalks is a slow, dreamy folk song that is built around lithe acoustic guitar work and wistful vocals.

For the Company is a fantastic debut effort.  Little May offer a good range of content, from the folk tinged tracks like Cicadas, Boardwalks or Sinks to the punk influenced Remind Me to the dark alt-pop songs like Hide, this is an album bursting at the seams with ideas, creativity and emotional depth.

The lyrics are deft, emotional and have a truthful resonance to them.  The vocals are rich, well pitched and have a real maturity to them.  The musicianship throughout the album is confident without being showy, precise without being prissy and the album’s production values are strong.

For the Company would be a fine album for an experienced act so Little May start off really strong with their debut effort.

5/5