Opening their offering with a smooth yet sombre, captivating string ensemble introduction, The Savings And Loan immediately evidence their sensitive, moving and beautiful if melancholic intentions. 'Swallow' then falls into a raw down-tempo song with Martin Donnelly's low Tom Smith (Editors) meets Tom Waits vocals sounded bare over an intricately picked solo nylon strung guitar accompaniment. The simplicity of 'Swallow' ads a raw guitar and vocal only number instantly offers the flavour of a sombre yet entrancing open mic act; the kind that, depressing as they might be, one can't help but be drawn into their sorrowful yet entrancing song.
Heralding more of a full band, early Coldplay-like blend with 'Lit Out' and many of the tracks that follow, Scottish duo The Savings And Loan combine picked guitar with sensitive brushed drums and hints of electric guitar, bass, piano and organ forming a gentle accompaniment to the honest and poetic lyrics sung by Donnelly. 'Pale Water' later evidence sensitive Buckland-esque electric guitar parts echoing over a ground of organ and acoustic guitar; but, unlike the early Coldplay material that The Savings And Loan can be compared to, their tracks never kick in to a strong chorus. The influence of the likes of sombre folk-blues singer songwriters Leonard Cohen, Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan and Tom Waits also sound clear, however, the chordal structures throughout this album remain simple and largely repetitive throughout meaning that a great chunk of mid-album tracks unfortunately blur into one.
Continue reading: The Savings And Loan, Today I Need Light Album Review
Swinton herself is an ex-boarding school pupil.