Like the wings of a butterfly, if I squeeze this review too hard, I fear I’ll damage something: such is the fragility of the careworn lead vocal. TJ Doyle’s voice immediately puts one in mind of Mercury Rev’s Jonathan Donahue, albeit with a more controlled, lullaby-esque slow vibrato. The use of a generous reverb and delay make it even more of a hypnotic instrument.
The mix features a healthy dash of tremolo – it feels insistent in a good way, a throbbing pulse contained within the song’s skittering heart.
Musically, I was put in mind of the sort of arrangement that the debut album from Passenger favoured – allowing hi-hats and glockenspiel to exist front and centre in the arrangement alongside instruments like vocals and guitars.
With a title like Lullaby, you can have a fair guess at the feel and tempo of this piece, but the topline actually goes in some quite unexpected places, which is gratifying, as it allows you to latch on to the lyrics more readily. It cuts across the rhythm early on, and then holds still in unexpected places on notes that create a bittersweet dissonance, which is particularly effective for this.
Then, on the chorus, the topline becomes more sweet and accessible before passing responsibility for the hooks back to the seductive co-operation of guitar and glockenspiel.
The band are working out a lot harder than a cursory listen would imply, and their attention to detail is a pleasure to notice upon repeat listens. I would say that they deserve a shout-out, but this is a lullaby…