What began as songwriter Laural Simmons’ idea to send a message to her friends and family back home in Arizona has turned into Portland’s latest emerging folk act, MayMay. Their five-track debut EP is a brief but engaging collection of gentle songs, led by Simmons’ distinctive vocals, at once intimate but somehow distant and ghostly. These songs, which we are told were written in the back garden during the summer, were then taken inside to be filled out with violins and glockenspiels as the weather began to turn and Simmons added other musicians to her project.
The results offer shades of fellow Pacific northwesterner Laura Veirs, most noticeably on centrepiece ‘Ashes Rise’, although it ‘All Is Still’ which is most likely to earn your repeat attention. The EP as a whole never gets out of third gear – something that might be a problem on a full album – but if you’re happy to meander for a short while, this is a good way to do it.