Words by Mel Reeve
Describing himself as a “drummer who decided to sing an album of songs which I sing with myself”, Sfumato (actually named Daithí Ó hÉignigh – Sfumato is a painting technique used by Da Vinci), has created a blissful, elegant album. Dodging between vibrant, joyous choruses and soft ballad like moments, tinged with a delicate melancholy. It gently winds its way into your brain,where it’ll quietly stay put.
The use of violins hints at folk influences, but avoids the trap that many bands often fall into of using this as an excuse for a very simple, basic (and boring) song structure. Instead, the strings add a harsher edge to otherwise sweetly melodic moments. ‘Pound’ features some spectacular illustrative drumming, “pound goes my heart” Ó hÉignigh sings, followed by a thumping beat that brings to mind Slow Club’s latest record, with its distinctive drumming. Exquisite, soft female vocals hide underneath O hEignigh’s own rich voice, occasionally coming to the foreground to great effect, such as on ‘Fly To Me’ and‘Song To Myself’ – which also features some truly sublime saxophone; a hint of smoky jazz clubs and melancholy improvisation leaks in, fitting perfectly with the carefully strummed guitar.
‘These Things Between stands out because it’s a clever album. There’s almost always strong melodic interest and it’s constantly surprising. Even the sampled crow noises at the beginning of ‘Pound’ avoid sounding clichéd or ridiculous, instead somehow being exactly what is needed to ease out from the faster pace of ‘Fly To Me’. It’s an unusual album at points but certainly never even close to un-listenable, instead it becomes vibrant and exciting. Sfumato are certainly a band to keep an eye on.