Fourth album from Glasgow based folk/art chamber popsters.
There’s lot to like about this latest offering from the well respected Starry Skies. Adept at mixing genres but rooted in singer songwriter sensibilities this album offers a smorgasbord of choices for the casual listener. There’s the Dylan inspired ‘Highwater Eagle’ which sounds lifted from the very shellac of “Desire” before it morphs into something entirely different. The soft, vibrant joyousness of the duetting on the Kinksien ‘Light in Your Soul’ with its retro arrangements and then there’s the Byrdsian ‘Kind Hearted People’.
The range of styles on “Small Wonders” is impressive and as the album progresses songs such as ‘Natural Way’ with the harder edge begin to give the whole work a heft that is not particularly evident on first listen; providing the softer songs with a contrast and foundation. On this track Warren McIntyre’s voice is clear and forceful as the strings and harmonies hover in the background. ‘I Don’t Want To Be That Kinda Guy’ is a scuzzy autobiographical narrative over fuzzed guitars and spiky rhythms complete with B52 handclaps perhaps a sense of the Rezillos here.
‘Iris In The Underground’ is gorgeous, swooning pop as the strings drive the melody with deft swipes and strokes and McIntyre seeks guidance, his voice laced with melancholy as a beautifully measured guitar soars with the aforementioned strings and their accompanying vocal harmonies. The album finishes with ‘On The Beach’, a delicate yet forceful hymnal that is both affecting and wistful in its beauty as the strings compliment the solo piano and heartfelt lyricism of McIntyre’s vocal.
This is a delightful album that inches its way into you with its variety and earworm melodies. Proper musicians and songwriting combining to create something quite special. Recommended.