Album: Draw Me Stories – The Unplugged Sessions

Fixing you into a lazy haze-filled melancholy from the get go, Draw Me Stories bring their second album of folk infused ambience, this time with added roots. Following on from their debut The Plugged Sessions, the Welsh troupe unplug and play with their voices and more instrumentation to create a delicious album full of transcendental hymns.

Carl Hodgetts’ hauntingly poetic voice really begins to cascade through the veins on ‘Secret War’ as the sound of an accepted fate carries you through a story told through hurt filled sighs and groans. The Unplugged Sessions really does do what it intends, by stripping everything down to its purest form, beginning with the vocals and continuing throughout the bongo percussion and the strumming of the desolate acoustic guitar.

Echoing Damien Rice at his spirited best, Draw Me Stories fill their songs with tales of personal failure or love long lost, and it remains just as captivating. ‘Heart Attack’ and ‘Comes & Smiles & Leaves’ could have been plucked from a 1960’s heyday of mid-English folk nostalgia, with or without the possibilities of hallucinogenics.

When the guys plug in, they’re known for switching between the tempo of an indie anthem or a twee folk tune, and creating the same kind of opposed musical paces is more difficult while stripped to the bare essentials, but with added creaks in the voice, fastest number ‘Shake’ adds a welcome change of pace to the album, however short lived.

The delicacy and intimacy of tracks such as ‘The Oak Tree’ are not uncommon, but they are rarely done as well as evident here. A misty summer fate is perfect accompaniment to a record of such ambient melodrama as The Unplugged Sessions.

Words: Peter Clark