Golden newbies from Alaskan duo

Not a bunch of Russian religious dissenters, as the encyclopaedia would have us believe, but a strange duo from Alaska. Quite frankly, these guys intrigue me. Their blurb sheet came on a yellowed piece of thin newspaper, everything about them screams nostalgia and antiquity. Apart from their music, oddly enough. It is quaint, but also achingly hip. And apparently has the kitchen sink thrown into the mix, there’s so much going on.

‘There It Is’ is the obvious single, with Nelson Kempf leading the vocals. It’s quirky, kooky, and yet delicate like something old and treasured. The almost Oriental lilt of ‘No More’ is more suited to Keeley Boyle’s fragile and sweet vocals. Their songs quickly build from something very simple to the all-in approach to production. The whole CD is run through with the dull ache of having left home to make it for themselves, probably hence the nostalgia theme. ‘Granny’s Song’ opens with a bizarre crash of percussion and a haunting noise you can’t quite make out. But it sounds good. It’s like an American version of Belle and Sebastian, or a folksy Flaming Lips.

It’s gentle, tender, and loving music beyond the musicians’ years in many ways. It’s certainly original, there’s no one artist you can say “Yup, that’s definitely so-and-so”, which is a wonderful thing. It’s very much a summer record, made for long days and hazy evenings in its naivety and nostalgia. If I lived near a cornfield, that’s where I’d listen to it.

You can certainly hear its roots in live performance, though the production adds an extra lustre to the proceedings. If could have easily been in danger of becoming repetitive without those little additions. In fact, it pushes at cutesy and childlike melancholy a bit often for a single album, which can make it seem longer than its eight tracks. This is not a band that has by any stretch of the imagination reached their peak, but it’s not a bad way to go towards it.