Little May Making a Big Splash

22 Jan

I’ve written before about how many great indie bands there seem to be in Australia. It’s time to add another to the list. Little May is a fabulous, all-female, folk-rock trio out of Sydney, and it looks like 2015 may be a breakout year with the release of their debut album, Little May.

The band consists of Liz Drummond, Hannah Field and Annie Hamilton. Their musical style is somewhat reminiscent of Mumford & Sons or Of Monsters and Men, but with an emotive edge that makes the music distinctly different. The band describes their niche as “ghost-folk.” The melodies and underlying rhythm tracks are captivating. The individual musicianship is top-notch. And the vocal harmonies are exquisite — drawing the listener in to ponder the songs’ insightful lyrics.

In an interview, Hannah described their creative process saying that Liz usually starts with most of a song’s chords. Then, Hannah contributes her sense of melody and writes some of the lyrics before the entire trio gets involved in finishing a composition.

The band clearly has a great sense of what works, because all five tracks on its self-titled release are really excellent.

The Little May opener, “Dust,” starts with a lightly floating melody — you can almost see it drifting in air caught by a ray of late afternoon sunlight. Then, 90 seconds in, we get our first glimpse of the band’s power — with a big sound characterized by fast-paced strumming, thumping kick drums, and body-shaking bass that have been popularized by bands such as Mumford & Sons.

“Hide” has a lilting, bouncy feel — lighter at the start and bigger in the middle and end. But it shows off the band members’ technical proficiency and incorporates an intricate rhythm that propels the song along.

“Midnight Hour” is softer and more soulful. The lead vocals give us a sense of desperation and longing. A change in tempo and dynamics about two-thirds of the way through the tune is another example of the band’s technical prowess.

“Bones” feels like a very personal song — delivered with a mix of guitar, piano and complex rhythms.

The EP closes with a track that might be Little May’s most radio-friendly, “Boardwalks.” This lightly tripping tune is exceptionally catchy and it showcases lyrics that provide a glimpse into where the band is at on its musical journey.

“Cause’ we are not afraid of who we are but of what we have become/And we are not afraid of what’s to be when this road has just begun/So we will turn our backs and close the doors for the last time/Give me back what’s mine.”

Clearly, Little May is a band with a lot to say and memorable music with which to say it. And 2015 may well be their year to make their mark on the indie music scene.

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