Hymns for a Dark Horse
Finding bands to reference for Bowerbirds is difficult - they are part of a new vibe, a new direction of bands that pick up instruments and melodies like magpies and then sit in a big room and make beautiful, category-less music. They're not like The Mountain Goats, but the feel's similar, not like Delta Spirit, but their loose natural musicality is reminiscent.
There is a gentle understatement, a delicious reserve to the lyrics and vocals, and a fantastic oddness - if The Arcade Fire were able to make an acoustic album, it may head this way. And Hymns is an acoustic album in every sense - natural beauty is allowed to shine when nothing is turned up too high; the lovely Beirut-like accordion, occasional violin and gentle harmonies adding to the nylon-strung guitar make a mesmerising sound, with a quietness that makes you lean in, lean in just far enough that you're hooked. Bowerbirds will never make a Radio 1 hit - it's way too sophisticated for that - but Hymns for a Dark Horse is one of the most lovely albums of recent months.