From the beginning of “Under Her Sails”, there is something immediately soothing about Malpas’ sound, found here on their debut full-length album, Rain, River, Sea. Essentially a duo, Malpas is the brainchild of producer/engineer Andy Savours and songwriter Ali Forbes. Atmospheric, melody, rhythm – a strongly danceable sense – it all adds up to an interesting and fine combination.
The beauty of “Under Her Sails” notwithstanding, “Where The River Runs” builds in layers and hits a groove when you least expect it, then shifts directions in a manner that works; “Sea Decide” is awash (!) with a warm vintage synth wave into gentle harmony-laden vocals and acoustic guitar and “Promise” is both delicate and slightly haunting in a lovely, simple way. “The Green Light” is a tight, tense, deliberately understated groove with taut rhythm and again, delicious harmonies; “Charlemagne” has a soundtrack-like dynamic to it, with warm acoustic guitar and subdued vocals and “Here Comes The Rain” is laden with strings and mandolin, giving it a classic English folk feel.
A very strong, embracing debut; a collection of songs that’s very easy to embrace and let wash over you. Definitely a welcome addition to my collection. Keep your eyes and ears primed on Malpas.
Rain, River, Sea is available now