Graham Reid | | 1 min read
This second album by the New Zealand duo of Fraser and Naomi Brown (and fellow travelers) builds on the excellence of their debut The Road Home, sometimes with pleasing digressions into territory once occupied by the emerging Fleet Foxes but here with a quieter, front-parlour elegance (the piano ballad Follow).
These are beautifully crafted and arranged songs – from hushed intimacy and confessions of weakness and need (Ghost Life with what sounds like Japanese wooden flute) to a more uplifting folk-rock style (Midsummer).
His voice is often the more dominant but as a duo they blend seamlessly (Sorry) and with piano as pivotal to many of the more reflective songs (the lovely Alive, Breathing with the simple but lovely line, “what are we here if not for love?”), Paper Cranes put distance between themselves and the more common guitar-framed folk axis.
There is some sinew here too, the final track Voices opens with “the lies we're told, they won't let go”.
Most of this is very focused listening when the audience is prepared to be as hushed as those performing the more intimate songs.
Drawing now on a couple of album there's no doubt Paper Cranes could hold a larger festival crowd but as with Tiny Ruins and many others, house concerts and this album played at home are perhaps the best ways to engage with music which is subtle and lyrics which may sometimes seem simple but have, over the full running distance, emotional depth and perspective.
PAPER CRANES VOICES NZ TOUR
Jan 18 - Auckland - The Wine Cellar
Jan 19 - Tauranga - Folk
Jan 25 - Hamilton - Festival One
Jan 26 - Hamilton - Festival One
Feb 1 - Dunedin - Dog With Two Tails
Feb 2 - Christchurch - Lyttelton Records
Feb 7 - Wellington – Meow
Feb 8 - Palmerston North – Globe Theatre
Feb - 9 Whanganui - Lucky Bar
Feb - 10 Hastings – The Common Room