Molly Linen’s new EP release Days Awake swims in the warm waters between the shores of folk and dream-infused modern ballads, something which resonates with the fact that Linen was born in the beautiful area of Shropshire and being based in Glasgow. It’s released by Lost Map records who are expert water diviners for some of the most beautiful music around (Alexia Avina, Martha Ffion, Ed Dowie, Rozi Plain, Firestations).
The EP opens with ‘A Lot to Give’, and the track is infused with a gentle sense of optimism. The low thrum of tuned-guitar sparsely covers a backing drone and Linen’s silver thread of a voice hovers over the music, occasionally harmonising with the guitar. ‘The Day Starts’ begins populating the EP with other instruments; the gentle puddle splashes of drums, a crinkle of piano, earthy bass notes and the guitar and voice add a 50s charm that evokes holding your love tightly at the ‘The Enchantment Under the Sea Dance’ flecked with light from a mirrorball.
‘Space’ is quiet advice for someone to ‘stay strong’ and give someone else space, and you can almost feel the reassuring arm around this person in the folds of the music. ‘Awake At Night’ is the most pastoral of the songs on the EP and beautifully captures the sense of uneasy stasis that comes from being kept awake by your hope and fears. There’s also something magical in the ability of a clarinet to distil earthiness and greenery into its sound, and the track put me in mind of Virginia Astley’s album From Gardens Where We Feel Secure. ‘Home’ it short and very sweet with its sleepy Americana twang and shimmering picked guitar lines that roam around in the spaces between the vocal lines, and the final track, ‘Spring’, ends the EP with rolling guitars that seem to embody the optimism of new life that Spring promises, casting off winter and “Breathing in, we Begin”.
The six tracks on Days Awake are not in a hurry to get anywhere and you will find your clocks tick slower while you are listening. These are magic hour songs, that golden twilight time between day and night, transfixing vignettes that live somewhere between Nick Drake and Warpaint. There is a tranquillity to the songs and Molly Linen’s captivating voice is as strong and pliant as a willow using its roots to draws nutrients from both city and countryside and, like swimming in warm waters, Days Awake is something to luxuriate in and relish every last note.
The EP is also available as a limited edition 10” coloured vinyl release via Lost Map Records website
Review by Paul F Cook