In opener The Castle Henley’s timid vocals are frustratingly submerged beneath over zealous drumming and an occasional blast of horns. The result is clumsy and confused, with the singer apparently battling to be heard above the lavish instrumentation.
Things take a turn for the better in the second half of the record, with three uncluttered and impressively atmoshperic songs giving Henley a chance to showcase his voice.
The playful Summer on the Thames, the highlight of the EP, is a joyful slice of mandolin fuelled whimsy. Delicate but enthusiastic handclaps and backing vocals are warm without falling into mawkishness, and the track bounds along with a sense of genuine excitement.
An unnamed bonus song is low key but impressively tense, and like the Spartan Rosaline it proves that less can be more by avoiding the melodramatic flourishes that clutter the opening tracks. Mosaic Bone Norse Flute is an interesting listen, but a more restrained approach would have allowed its creator to shine a little brighter.
Words: Craig Burnett