The Bookshop Band 2016
Quiet delights of a letter-filled life as shaped by a small English band with a burning desire to reach out and stay in.
Literature’s always been a bountiful source of inspiration for musicians, but harnessing their ambition to a hushed sound of a library is a unique approach that sees this Bath duo explore a variety of worlds without leaving a room – just like any reader does. Ben Please and Beth Porter’s lovingly-packaged albums even feel like books or, given their periodic, once-a-month nature, magazines that detail secret musings of a sensual mind. With Peter Please’s spoken word coming directly from the page, pieces such as “No Place To Hide Your Lights” flow chamber-like, yet they’re a vehicle to transport you somewhere else – to “escape from your own self” – while voices weave a new dimension in the tangle of guitar and cello strings.
It may be serious and parchment-dry as the stanzas of “A Couple Of Kicks” are, yet for all the spirituality of “One More Step Along The Road I Go” – an epic, enchanting prayer – the title track is a frivolous raid to Europe, and the urgent, urban folk of “Held By Strangers” has a bluesy start before offering a different kind of escapism: from the mundane cliché and into celestial realm. Once there, “There’s A Place Where It Rains” unfolds solemnly, but the trumpet-adorned “Twinkle Park” proves innocence wasn’t lost to all the bookish experience – because the adventure of reading can’t be stopped.