We have a Soundcloud friend in Montreal who we will probably never meet. But thanks to Patrice in Montreal, we were introduced to the Australian trio Little May. The band identifies itself as “three girls making ghost folk.” They are Liz Drummond, Hannah Field, and Annie Hamilton.
While the acoustic guitar work of Little May is very solid, the strength of the group is in its vocals. Individually, the members are interesting, but the harmonization sets the band apart. That is apparent in each of the limited number of songs made available by Little May. But it is the song “Boardwalks” that drew us to the group.
Importantly, we recognize that there are very few “signature styles” that belong to a band or individual. Yes, Jimi Hendrix owned one, and Robin Trower was permitted to borrow it for a short time. But that is one of the few exceptions. For most sounds and song formats, it’s near impossible to say who did it first. That said, we reach the point of this post. Namely, “Boardwalks” by Little May reminds us of everything we like about Ben Howard.
“Boardwalks” begins unassumingly. The Soundcloud waveform shows three spikes in the first fifteen seconds. The spikes represent notes from an acoustic guitar. Then, there is a burst of Howard-like guitar, although not to the degree that would warrant a comparison. The song progresses along interestingly, until the “where did that come from?” portion toward the end. At about the 2:30 mark of “Boardwalks,” there is an energy ramp started by the instruments and reinforced by the harmonization that soon follows.
“Where did that come from?” moments occur in a number of Ben Howard songs. While it may not be the best example, we note Howard’s “Keep Your Head Up,” because it is one of our favorite songs of last year. The song seems to be winding down at the three-minute mark, when some distant background vocals of “Keep your head up; keep you heart strong” start the charge to an energy resurgence. The song is embedded below. A better example is “The Fear,” which steadily marches through a long lasting resurgence starting at about 2:30. Most fans prefer “Old Pine,” so we’ll include that too.
Returning to Little May, we are looking forward to upcoming releases. They should be on people’s radar. "Boardwalks"
"Hide" by Little May
"Keep Your Head Up" by Ben Howard
"The Fear" by Ben Howard
"Old Pine" by Ben Howard