Album Review: Story Books – From Post to Post EP

By on Tuesday, 11th March 2014 at 12:00 pm
 

We at TGTF have spent the last several months preparing for SXSW 2014, but before Mary and I get truly stuck into the festival starting today, we thought it a good idea to look back at Story Books, the Kentish quintet who made such a great impression on our intrepid editor at last year’s SXSW Festival. Story Books are set to hit the road in just a couple of weeks for a headline tour in support of their latest EP, ‘From Post to Post’, due for release on the 17th of March on Communion Records. The tour is slated to be a fairly short one, with only seven dates scheduled. The EP is likewise brief, but in the nature of a good live gig, it saves its best bits for the end.

As with their debut EP ‘Too Much A Hunter’ (reviewed by Cheryl here), the band self-recorded ‘From Post to Post’ before handing it off for mixing by Scottish producer Tony Doogan. Because I love finding connections among all the different bands and artists I listen to, I have to note that Doogan also produced ‘New Gods’, the latest album by Withered Hand, which I reviewed here. But the overall sound of the Story Books EP couldn’t be more different from the warmth and almost uncomfortable intimacy of ‘New Gods’.

Story Books’ lead singer Kris Harris has a smooth, emotionally detached vocal delivery that sounds a tiny bit like Noah and the Whale’s Charlie Fink, and while Story Books lean more synth pop than folk, the similarity between the two bands doesn’t entirely end there. ‘From Post to Post’ has an at-arms-length sense of distance, an almost wistful feeling of looking back at a set of events after some time has passed, much like NATW’s ‘Heart of Nowhere’, yet another connection!.

Opening track ‘Floating Arks’ is both atmospheric and illustrative, the tripping drum rhythm and lilting keyboard melody perfectly symbolizing the lyric in the chorus, “I dreamt of floating arks and playing host to fugitives / I dreamt of running empty, this is how we choose to live”. The next track, ‘Damage’, continues the theme of reflection with the singularly painful lyric, “I felt the sting of regret every time I looked ahead.”

The final track on the EP is the evocative ‘White Maid’, whose expansive dramatic escalation is achieved by slowly layering instruments and sonic effects under the muted vocal lines. The keyboard melody in the lengthy bridge is particularly haunting as the electronic effects kick in and build almost to the point of white noise. The dynamic level backs off for the introspective third verse, which completes its rumination on the past with the lines: “perfection in vain / now I’m reckless and changed / you turned sober and wise / ‘cos you paused in the night / watched me make all the same mistakes you made”.

7.5/10

Story Books will celebrate the launch of ‘From Post To Post’ at their London show on the 25th of March. More details on that gig and the rest of the March tour can be found here. Stream ‘Floating Arks’ below for a quick glimpse into Story Books’ sonic atmosphere.

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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF was edited by Mary Chang, based in Washington, DC.

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