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7 out of 10
As Aspen Sails, Cheltenham-based duo Charles Johns and Bertie Telezynski have been collecting good vibes from the tiniest webzines to 6Music and Xfm, with their melodious modern folk - with clever finger picking in the style of light-of-touch cult indie legends Owls and American Football on the side.
The gentle acoustic riffs and harmonies that wind together on 'So Pretty' and 'Comfort' are nowhere near as wimpy as two folk singers singing about pretty girls could be. They have an edge much like the Sons Of Noel & Adrian, Laura Marling or My First Tooth, with harmonies occasionally becoming punky chants. 'Forest', while not without hints to pastoral trad folk, is driven by an angsty riff and a story about "shakin' my bones and breakin' my bones till my girl gets come".
While 'Withering' is aptly titled and the most forgettable song here, the closing 'Mourning Cloak', despite its sober title is ultimately uplifting and full of warmth. It's easy to submerge into the "I'm not alone" refrain, lush harmonies and twinkling guitars as, not for the first time, Johns and Telezynski combine their melodies and voices to stirring effect.
1. So Pretty
5. Mourning Cloak