Sycamore – Sycamore and Friends
Like the tree after which they are named, Sycamore’s branches extend far. Between them, core members Jer Reid, Stevie Jones and Shane Connolly have roots in El Hombre Trajeado, Issho Taiko Drummers and Tattie Toes, amongst others; the record’s guesting “friends”, meanwhile, include Bill Wells and The One Ensemble’s Daniel Padden. The six pieces that constitute their debut are subtly intoxicating – a rich mix of tricky melodies and heady textures that eschew straightforward structures.
Opener New Cold is an immediate standout: one of the few tracks to feature prominent vocals, it buffets wordless wails (from Connolly’s fellow Tattie Nerea Bello) with exotic and propulsive twin guitars. The closing A Sun – with its droning, groaning interlude – also deserves mention, building to a noisy finish forged from percussive rattles and string whines. Sporadic lulls elsewhere do nothing to diminish the record as a whole, raising hopes this union is an on-going project and not a one-off. [Chris Buckle}