Released: August 2010
Bright Glow [LISTEN]
Hard To See
This In Remembrance
Lincoln Learning French
I had the luxury of first hearing the music of Little City a short time ago, and that the up-and-coming six-piece hails from Toronto made it no surprise that their debut EP, The Going and the Gone, displays more than enough craft and promise to take the band to higher and more deserving ground.
Opener “Bright Glow” sets a tone that is not unlike that of the EP itself: the steady and restrained percussion of Joel Dickau, equally inhibiting bass of Dave Clarke, and rhythmic piano of Trevor Kai, which in this first song’s case is kicked off with the old-timey country presence of harmonica intro. Carrying the song’s and often the album’s emotion is singer Frances Miller, whose vocal capacity and maturity show an age of about twice her own. And this engrossing five-minute ballad, also like much of the EP, is speckled with moments of musical intrigue courtesy of brothers Shaun and Jordan Axani, whose guitar, mandolin, banjo and lap steel between them serve up the predominant folk contributions and Southern twang that so well compliment the rest of the music.
Two others that have left lasting impressions are “This in Remembrance”, whose calming guitar plucking and lulling melody have an earthy demeanor that take me anywhere from family winters to log cabin summers (which aren’t even real memories half the time), and “Lincoln Learning French”, a refreshingly upbeat turn with perhaps the catchiest intertwining of nearly all instruments on deck, and harnessing what might be their strongest potential for future exploration and growth. It’s a fine way to end their first effort.
The Going and the Gone is a neat and tidy, and small, package. While EPs by nature serve as a short and sweet sampling of an artist’s work at any given time in their career, I as a listener would have elected to hear more of what this band can do, both in size and scope. And when that time does come, I think Little City would benefit from letting go of some of their neat and tidy to explore their unknown as well.
Though the group is only at the beginning of what looks to be a well-deserved spot in the ever sought after indie folk scene, they seem to have already stumbled onto those elements to the sound that speak to both its lasting mark by some of history’s greats and also its contemporary revival as championed by so many new and not-so-new artists today.
It’s appropriate, then, that an overarching theme for The Going and the Gone, in fact Little City themselves, is “lost and found”. While many may see the phrase as embodying something more tangible, something lingering in the time, spirit and reflection of their music, it may as justly serve as a brief lesson of history, a continuing and welcome history, of the music they create itself.