The Bookshop Band 2016
Shelf life: warm shine of family values and familiar quirks brought closer to home by a charming tune.
If traveling without leaving, an art refracted through the title object of "Bring Me Back A Pyramid" – a third instalment in this Bath group’s an-album-a-month quest – was a detour from reality, that record’s follow-up has an ochre-hued glow to it. Inspired by literary works in the ensemble’s usual way, their tracks run around the room rather than around the globe now, but that doesn’t mean the world of a house is smaller; such a microcosm is only more static as the gracious “For The Time Being” may suggest, yet there’s a Brownian motion of relatives to enliven, or leaven, the picture.
“Whatever you were fed in your life / It’s a new story now”: if this was a band’s motto, it could go both up and down in emotional terms, although “down” and “up” are interchangeable directions here, and the tight weave of folksy “We Are Rotating” provides an explanation for the cycle. It’s hard to shirk an approving smirk at the kindness of “Petroc And The Lights” which describes the vulnerabilities of various family members as Ben Please and Beth Porter’s voices join in the lines that Poppy Pitts’ vocals hang on a ukulele’s strum and cellos’ wail. Still, the opening song’s upbeat spirit is dissolved in a sad elegance of “Further On This Journey” before this tune spreads its Renaissance wings and flutters into the listener’s soul, while “For The View” is offering a heartbreakingly dramatic means of escapism, and “All Aboard” signals post-breakup urge for togetherness with the simplest of tunes.
That’s a very autumnal feeling, stressed by three snippets of authors reading from their novels to the band’s sparse accompaniment at the end of the album, and there’s an aching beauty, and ennui, in it.