Album: Skimming Stones EP
Label: Hayloft
Tracks: 4

Weave have come forward launching a self-assured EP that is confident at tackling the intricacies of acoustic music and folk on it's own terms by establishing a distinct and identifiable sound. It has a good level of polish and it is encouraging to see in a 4 track disc the inspiration drawn from other genres that are spread across the different numbers. The tracks start on a seductive note with a series of flirtatious blues look in "Secrets" and a private liaison in "Night Visitor" but then the band showcases their diversity and moves towards a more 60's pop and then a folk sound at the end (in "Seaham Harbour"). The band consists of Jo Nettleton on vocals and percussion, Tim Hardcastle on drums and mandolin, Charles Hardy on guitar, Gibby on bass guitar and Gemma Tilley on Cello and the disc is published by Hayloft Records.

The first track "Secrets" is an intriguing, pacey number somewhere between a folk mainstay hit and a film noire featurette. Here Jo Nettleton has a touch of a jazz-age Shirley Manson or even Metric's Emma Haine in her voice but unlike the flame haired grunge mistress mentioned there is an added brightness not characteristic of these grittier songstresses. The lightness appears within much like in the films where you see the car headlights moving past the gaps in a private investigator's blinds, you can almost smell the smoking cigar as the singer pleads for her case to be heard, "I drew the detail of your profile, I recognised the colour of your eyes". Gemma Tilley's cello and the the heavy drum alongside the base strings are great additions that inject a rhythmic, professional tone alongside the breezy chorus. This brings a good balance of sounds to the track as well as it being a catchy number in itself and very good opener. It is an interesting fusion of sounds and one which I think could feature as their headline "style" on a future disc as the band show a special aptitude for this and is worth the price of the disc alone.

Track 2, "Night Visitor" is a calmer affair describing a visitor who comes to the window, "wet to the bone". It is a sensual song, Nettleton has a soft voice which emphasises the romance in the encounter and the warmth of the two individuals. The moving percussion and strings illustrate the safety of the night, of the trust and joy of the two lover and the atmosphere of companionship in the silence of evening. It is a well-produced track which is like the quiet warmth of feeling that comes following the first track's "seduction at sight" scene. "Shine" trades the intimacy of "Night visitor" for a more pop-laden track with one foot clearly in the Sixties and another within a recognisable Western guitar riff. It has a impressive number of jangly percussive instruments including the crash of expectant cymbals, I particularly like the fade towards the end of the track that feels like it has wandered in from something psychadelic in the next recording booth.

"Seaham Harbour" is a love-letter to the coastal town and the marriage of a woman called "Annabella". The sea feels ever present with the tide samples and the airy and twisting touch of the mandolin which gives it a free, unconfined feeling. It is a simple song which in it's simplicity, much like the skimming stones it describes in detail, is it's strength. This allows the focus turns to Jo Nettleton's voice which fits the staple of liberty in it's smooth delivery, it's imagery lingers like the heat on the seashore rocks which is an achievement given the disc is being launched in the Autumn/Winter period. It is an interesting reminscence of the sea and love and a strongly recommended track on this disc.

This is a promising introduction to Weave as they make a splash across Yorkshire at a number of gigs to make themselves remembered. It will be intriguing to see how their sound develops and how these good indicators could build into a full-length disc in the future.

Peter Taranaski