Joyce The Librarian are at their best when their diverse influences mix to produce a distinctive and original-sounding take on the folk-pop genre. The opening track, with its subtle distorted guitars evoking a beautifully restrained take on Death Cab For Cutie, and the upcoming single “Follow Me, I’m Right Behind You”, with its hints of 90’s indie-pop in the form of Belle & Sebastian, are both accomplished songs. But it is when these sounds are mixed with a dash of influence from the thriving Bristol folk scene on tracks such “Turn Yourself In” and album-closer “Breakfast Club” that the band come into their own and produce something really worth paying attention to.
An odd-ball highlight comes in the form of “Maurice Ward”, telling the tale of it’s namesake, the Yorkshire-bred hairdresser turned inventor of “Starlite”, heat-shielding miracle material, the secret of which he guarded so closely that it’s yet to be used outside of his laboratory. A valid contender for a modern-day folk song if ever there was one!
The album is occasionally let down by slightly indulgent touches – the close harmony introduction to “Land” seems to detract slightly from what is otherwise a playful and imaginatively instrumented track, and the recording occasionally sounds a little dry, but on the whole this is definitely worth a listen for a new take on what can be a slightly tired genre.
Joyce The Librarian – They May Put Land Between Us is out on Folkwit Record on November 5th
Review by Gethin Webster