Australian, singer-songwriter duo that creates musical landscapes which label Sub Pop has termed “starkly simple yet dramatically moving.” Lead singer, Zoë Randell, has a breathtakingly beautiful voice — so clear and pure — and Steve Hassett’s harmonizing is exquisite. The melodies range from fragile and quavering to mildly energetic and bouncy. Each arrangement incorporates guitar and usually piano — with strings, horns and synths added as required. “Passerby” is a compelling, consistently excellent indie folk album with lovely poetry that you could put on repeat and enjoy all day.
Recommended: 1, 5, 3, 2, 10, 7. No FCCs detected.
1. (3:40) Small Window – Gentle vocals with understated harmonies over a strumming guitar. A light frosting of piano and just a touch of rhythm toward the end. Astonishingly arresting. ****
2. (3:45) Without a Face – Sweeter female vocals over fingerpicked strings, gentling pulsing bass and haunting harmonies. ***
3. (4:30) Passerby – Tremblingly sad, storytelling vocals about passing relationships. Randell’s voice soars effortlessly to higher registers near the end. ***
4. (2:31) Winter Is Passing – Rich, lower-register vocals over fingerpicked guitar, with harmonies and synth chords added over time.
5. (5:42) Tangled Heart – Gentle, slow bounce moves this melody along as it rises and falls. Full orchestration. Builds to a louder instrumental lead break. ****
6. (3:16) Senja — Simple, mid-tempo melody accompanied by fingerpicked guitar. Piano, soft bass and rhythm are added.
7. (3:41) Reverie on Norfolk Street – Lilting, slower-tempo ditty with reserved lead vocals and rich harmonies in the chorus. **
8. (4:35) Early Night – Mid-tempo folk anthem. Brushes keep a clocklike rhythm. Synths and softly growling guitars with a touch of feedback supply a solid foundation…with piano and simple vocals overlaid.
9. (4:36) Gold on the Leaves – Wistful, halting melody. Strummed and fingerpicked guitars, piano and synth accompany the introspective vocals.
10. (4:00) Star – Aching closer. Richly harmonized vocals. Strummed guitar. Beautiful, full-string accompaniment. ***