Suturee - Suturee

Owain Paciuszko 26/11/2008

Rating: 4/5

With a delicate hushed oooo-aaaa from Rebecca Adorno this album opens perfectly, skipping into the head-bobbing drumming of 'Afraid of Hands' a title announced by Adorno and Julian Brau, who provides a half-sung, half-spoken vocal reminscent of Elliot Smith and Jeff Tweedy from Wilco. The song then lunges into a banjo driven break-down before swiftly easing back into hushed, sing-song vocals; it's such an attention grabbing, yet subtle, opening that I couldn't help but worry the album had peaked far too soon.

No need to fear though, Brau and Adorno are an extremely talented pair and have crafted a gorgeous collection of indie-folk songs across the nine tracks. It has a similar prog-folk vibe to Stephan Malkmus' 'Pig Lib' album, yet there's no ten minute guitar noodling odysseys here, Suturee keeping each track absolutely crammed with ideas and invention in snug little running times.

A suture is a stitch holding together the edges of a wound and on tracks like 'Fail to Feel' you can sense that these songs are hopeful little bubbles to keep you safe and warm when your feeling low. It shares ground with Elliot Smith in that sense, in that the record is - at times - melancholic, yet there's something about it that is comforting and optimistic.

The only real flaw in this record is that there is a certain sameness to a number of songs, it rests somewhere between being part of the general 'feel' of the record or just merely a repetition of a good idea; it works for the album as a whole but stops some tracks from really standing alone compared to better executions of a similar melody.

Other highlights include 'This Hour' with its stop-start nature, allowing Adorno's vocals to sound at their tenderest and the interplay between her vocal and Brau's over a mournful guitar is excellent. The album draws to a close with the swirling 'The Presence', that has a dreamlike quality to its squeaky fretboard sounds and nimbly plucked guitar strings as the pair's vocals echo out over spooky wails before suddenly turning into The Cure for the final thirty seconds. A great way to pull the curtain on a sublime little record.