This is Dan Mayfield’s first record as band leader. He’s worked with Darren Hayman, The Wave Pictures and Allo Darlin’, and his own sound isn’t too far away from those artists. It is a gentle blend of folk suffused with atmosphere, hushed polite vocals and everything clearly thought through and stuffed with detail. ‘The Music’ details the pleasures of music, the physical pleasure of the needle in the groove or the tape passing over the heads as well as the bliss from the actual music, the drone of harmonium binding everything together. The songs are full of small personal pleasures rather than bold statements – ‘Stars’ mixes ukulele with harmonium and the twinkling of vibes to create a painterly atmosphere where the brushstrokes of the instruments create the atmosphere.
Emma Winston (who you should have heard in the excellent Owl & Mouse) adds her vocals to several songs including songs wistful ‘Heartaches’ with its melancholy French horn and the Knife in the Water soundalike ‘Lakeside’. Dan and Emma’s vocals dovetail beautifully on the delicate ‘Tiptoe’, which is as gentle as a lullaby. The songs are gossamer like, with the kind of delicate beauty that can easily be destroyed – they are the kind of songs that are either cherished or ignored. I’m in the cherish camp.