Draw Me Stories - The Sky and the Mirror

Owain Paciuszko 17/08/2009

Rating: 4/5

First official plugged release from Cardiff three-piece, following on from their two excellent Plugged/Unplugged demo recordings. This four-track EP finds the band

Opening with the light bounce and infrequent cowbell of The You and Me Theatre, the EP gets off to a toe-tapping and optimistic start; 'In the garden we brush the specks of the past from off our heads.' sings Carl Hodgetts, his voice sounding remarkably Jeff Buckley-like. There's even more of that trademark Buckley-quiver to his vocals on second track Spiders which starts on an ominous and builds towards Wild West sounding backing vocal grunts. It's a brilliantly arranged track, melodic direct whilst deliciously off-beat at the same time.

Heart Attack has a head-nodding, laidback groove and guitar licks straight out of Santana, it - like all of Draw Me Stories work - is smart enough to retain its dark heart even when the music picks up the pace, filling its lyrics with angst and emotion that connects immediately with the listener. Closing song Blindfold is a spine-tingling and elegantly arranged song, with cymbals tentatively shimmering in the background as cooing vocals are layered in spookily around Carl's poetic lead. Half-way through the track becomes a clattering, folk stomp as the lyrics 'The circle never ends, the circle never stops.' are repeated with growing urgency. It's a lively and passionate close to a well-crafted EP.

Come the close of this EP you are left wanting, which is on the one hand a very good thing, but on the other there's also a sense that this recording in itself falls at little short of being a perfect package. It lacks that final ribbon wrapped round it to quite mark it out as something more than just a taste before a full album, regardless, this is a superb EP from one of the best folk-rock bands in the country right now.