Music: Wren by Norabelle * * *
Norabelle revolves around the talents of Louth singer and multi-instrumentalist Ken Clarke and this painstakingly composed album will reward patient listeners.
Everything unfolds slowly over eight tracks. The predominant sounds are created by piano, acoustic guitar and Clarke's soft, accented vocals. It's a fine antidote to a frantic world.
Some listeners will be reminded of Adrian Crowley, the Choice Prize-winning Galwegian whose fondness for languid, gentle tempos and keenly observed lyrics is shared by Clarke. Others may see elements of Jens Lekman in songs such as Checkout Line that are twee but rarely cloying.
Gregarious Bird, the album opener, is especially lovely. With a sympathetic production and quite gorgeous orchestration, this slow-burner is one of the most beautiful songs I've heard in 2011 so far.
While the album would have benefited from a greater sense of light and shade, there's much to appeal to the discerning music aficionado.
These are songs every bit as delicate as the title suggests.
Burn it: Gregarious Bird; Wren
Day & Night