Gorgeous, contemplative piece undermined by a couple of poor song choices
The Paper Kites are from Australia and ‘Roses’ is the release that celebrates their tenth year of releasing gentle ‘slow core’ indie records, all melancholy yearning and wistful reflection. And ‘Roses’ certainly delivers if this is the brief.
In essence a series of duets with a selection of female guest vocalists this begins as an engrossing listen that unfurls like a soft blanket as the mood deepens and performances expand. Aoife O’Donovan raises ‘Climb On Your Tears’ way above the average with a crystal clear contribution to this sleepy shuffle which verges towards country but somehow avoids the mainstream despite the glossy production.
‘Dearest’ treads a folkier path with Lydia Cole providing the whispered vocal counterpoint to Sam Bentley’s mellow tones; this feels gossamer thin and delicate with splashes of production highlighting a gorgeous summer feel. We can but dream…
‘Steal My Heart Away’ heads too far into 80s synth sheen territory for this reviewers tastes and ‘Without Your Love’ also feels somewhat indebted to 80s pop, say Men At Work meets Cyndi Lauper with its chiming guitar finale. A misstep.
The album then seems to get back on track with ‘Lonely’ featuring Gena Rose Bruce, again a gentle yearning ballad but seemingly far more honest in its delivery than the previous two or three. This is followed by the highpoint ‘Take Me Home’ which features a typically nuanced and compelling performance from Nadia Reid. Gently picked acoustic guitar supported by fuzzed electric guitar. Glorious.
Much to like here but some songs shouldn’t have made the cut as many of the others are exquisite.