Album Review: Little May – For the Company

By on Tuesday, 20th October 2015 at 12:00 pm
 

Words by Steven Loftin, header photo by Mclean Stephenson

Little May For the Company album coverAustralia is synonymous with many things. Sunshine, surfing, kangaroos, etc., etc. One thing that doesn’t come to mind is dark, brooding indie music. But that’s about to change with the debut release from Sydney-based band Little May.

Consisting of three members, Liz Drummond (vocals and guitar), Annie Hamilton (guitar and backing vocals) and Hannah Field (lead vocals), Little May together they create the kind of music that marries perfect lyrical imagery with the musical equivalent of drinking just the right amount of alcohol for a buzz. Seeing these songs performed live before hearing the album in its entirety could potentially take away any preconceptions you may have or even give you false expectations before going into a proper listening session, but that’s far from the case. After seeing the band perform live in Manchester I can safely say everything is as it claims to be, and that is three musicians coming together to create music that pushes and pulls you emotionally and does it perfectly. The band takes this perfection from the studio to the stage, and delivers an exceptional performance each and every time.

Leading single ‘Seven Hours’ is the perfect example of this. A tale of a lost relationship that died prematurely, it starts with a gentle verse before going into a mildly more determined chorus. It then suddenly breaks into a rousing, pounding version of itself, utilising the most memorable form of a crescendo, with a chord change that instigates the warmest feelings in your soul. For a change of pace to the standard ‘woman gets screwed over by man, then writes song’, there are even tracks that embrace the subject of the female being the dominant heartbreaker, which can be found on ‘Sold’. Little May are certainly here to shake things up, and not in the conventional sense.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F7DK1LBJYSc[/youtube]

The record has Aaron Dessner, guitarist and songwriter from The National, on production duties, and it shows. The tonality and lyrical quality of the songs is reminiscent to that of 2013’s ’Trouble Will Find Me’, almost as if they’re the antithesis, the muses to the subject matter on said album.

Another earlier released single from this record is ‘Oh My My’. Its main premise is the fear of being alone and needing your someone. Though the words may represent the weaker side of human emotion, the track’s musical background is its strongest defence. It’s mildly hypnotic, in the way it draws you into the story and uses crashing cymbals in the later chorus that are wrapped around the pulsating drums, which then creates a sense of urgency. Then it gently places you back in your room as the track fades.

In terms of track listing, the record is paced to ensure that not everything is kept on a melancholic level. The less than positive moments that pack a lot more punch musically are put in place to stop the album feeling like a heavy listen. More tender moments include ‘Bow & Arrow’ and ‘The Shine is Brighter at Night’, the latter of which is the final track on the record and one that couldn’t be more suited to the job of closing out the album. As if using the glowing moon as a metaphor for the struggle of not being able to get a lover out of your mind at night, even though you don’t want the thoughts to fade, the song is a gentle ending to what is a dynamic and ever-growing in strength album.

Little May certainly have shown all of their strengths in this debut record, from the aforementioned darkness to the emotional depth you might not necessarily want to revisit personally. There’s not a single moment that they don’t take care of you and let you know everything’s going to be all right.

8.5/10

The debut album from Sydney, Australia’s Little May, ‘For the Company’, is out now on Island Records.

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