Review: Butterfly EP — Snowpoet

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Snowpoet possesses the ability to combine two of the world's most magical things — song and poetry. Inspired by musicians such as Bjork, Joni Mitchell, Tom Waits and Ólöf Arnalds, as well as poets such as Sylvia Plath, W.B. Yeats and Philip Larkin, the alternative folk duo from London weave them together effortlessly. Their recently released EP Butterfly demonstrates this fusion exquisitely. 

The EP opens up with ‘Always’. In the first part of the track, we hear vocalist Lauren Kinsella in the middle of an internal monologue. At first, I assumed that she could be having a conversation with someone. She asks questions like ‘do you have pictures?’, and ‘what do you imagine life was like?’. But there weren't any other voices, and she can be heard replying to some of the questions. So it can be assumed that her words are like a stream of random thoughts. The sound of the piano is nostalgic and upbeat as she asks questions about paintings, pictures and happier times. Then, the sound of the rosy piano becomes subdued, grainy and darker. The spoken monologue is dazzling and compliments the instrumentals beautifully. ‘Always’ is also accompanied by an emotional saxophone solo by Josh Arcoleo.

The second track, ‘1953’ is light and graceful. The sounds of the Wurlitzer electric piano reminds me of a vintage musical jewellery box. This track is a splendid segue into ‘Butterflies’. ‘Butterflies’ is inspired by a symbolic experience Chris Hyson had at his dad’s funeral where he saw butterflies around the coffin. The brushing drums in the first half of the track are chilling as if it’s building up to something unpleasant. Despite the drums, which are reminiscent of an irregular heartbeat, Lauren’s voice reminds sweet and blissful. The brushing drums become less prominent in the second half of the song. Throughout the track, Lauren switches between singing and talking, this corresponds to the shifting sounds. 

The final track ‘Alive With Closed Eyes’ is a musical reworking of ‘I Will Wade Out’ by E. E. Cumming. If you look at the physical structure of this poem, there are randomly indented lines reminiscent of waves of an ocean. This resembles the way Snowpoet songs drift between spoken word and singing. 

This EP is not only ethereal but also a complete and wholesome release. Each track compliments the other, and there isn’t a track that appears out of place. The best thing about this EP is that it can be listened to from start to end because of it’s story like features. At the end of the final track, I'm left intrigued. Snowpoet doesn't just create music; they create art. 

Written by Amy Smolcic