The opener, The Layer, is inescapably gorgeous, beginning with some reverberating chimes, acoustic guitar and cello, evolving elegantly with a quietly sampled drum track and vocals to a busier climax. Those vocals are nicely pitched, too, with none of Tim’s warble but an element of Mike’s whisper. Whilst we’re on the subject, Nate’s lyrics paint a few evocative images and turn-a-phrase nicely, adding to the refined nature of the proceedings - no existential wordplay or songs about girls, here. Flightless Bird stands out in this regard, with its eloquent chorus, and post-Victor Villareal guitar progression: distinctive, but spacious and noodle-free.
Those two songs do stand out, and the L.P. does finish with a bit of a flicker, but the overall affect is one of understatement and charm. It’s also worth mentioning that the production is sublime, the songs allowed to breath, with every instrumental flourish feeling vibrant and vital. Hopefully Nate Kinsella will carry on making Birthmark records, because there is the sense here that there is even better to come, something quite special, in fact.