In the Goodship : Libra EP2016
Cardiff based In the Goodship claim to have fuelled their Libra EP solely with 'ideas of universal balance and greasy pizza' - whatever the true philosophy and fodder used, the result is a careworn set of songs that edges along beatifically without ever becoming lost or languid.
This is a second release under this name - 2013 saw a first recording Off-cuts of Good Meat, mainly demos and works in progress, including an archetypically morose reading of Dylan's Let me die in my footsteps and a Pearl Jam cover - but Libra is in essence their debut.
The six piece band - Joshua Morgan (Vocals, guitar, banjo and organ), Esther Liu (Vocals), Jon Reynolds (Percussion), Kirk Morgan (Bass), Stian Vedoy (Keyboards) and James Chia (Guitar) - composed a total of five songs for this EP, and recorded them at the Free House Studios, Bristol during 2015.
The collection opens with Libra, a slow marching piece that builds in tempo and suddenly soars to be momentarily uplifting. It's followed by Because I Do Not Hope, with it's sombre lyric and sharp guiding banjo melody softened in places by a welcome undercurrent of piano.
The pace then shifts upwards for a couple of songs. First Love Fled starts with a quiet harmony before a rush of skipping flamenco energy, then For the Gospel and for the Gold is driven along in bright fits and starts by skiffling brush on drum percussion.
Leaves is the longest track, opening with the melody emerging from a tinkling, lonely piano, then with an effective and drifting vocal. It offers a bucolic and questioning close.
Shifting and atmospheric instrumentation, beguiling vocals, interesting song structures - there's a lot of promise here and a lot already to like - Libra is an EP that unfurls with easy going grace, and that has a charisma all of its own.
IN THE GOODSHIP I Libra EP