Dreamy folk-pop.

The variety of instruments that can be heard on each track is one of the things that makes this record so absorbing; violin, keys, mandolin, melodica, banjo, lapsteel, theremin, the list goes on. Remarkably, all this gentle, tuneful noise is created by just two musicians, Gwen Cheeseman and Marc Withecomb; the fact that they are a boy/girl duo has led to a comparison with Ting Tings which is a little obvious and thankfully not very close to the mark (Ting Tings technically pale in comparison and have never been this dreamy or inventive).

Sparkling and sweet melodies fill “You Can’t See The Stars From Here”; their debut album is warm and breezy right from opener ‘Sugar Mouse’, which appeared in the Brit flick “Angus, Thongs & Perfect Snogging” in the Summer and now also threatens to be the sound of Summer 2009. Sugar sweet vocals from Gwen soar over strings, gentle strumming and some really decent tunes. Moments of duel vocals work very well and add more depth and the mass of instruments on hand are never overused, meaning that the tracks are still slightly minimal at times and never overworked or drowned in needless fuzz; each sound is clearly defined and identifiable.

They are more like a blend of Belle and Sebastian and Saint Etienne but with many other interesting touches, like the retro feel on 60s tinged ‘Nylon and Leather’ (counterbalanced with the folk-pop violin and acoustic guitar) and the Calexico style brass and echoes of ‘Shaftesbury Drill’ to name but two. Tracks like ‘Silver Spoon’ are a joy, showering you with dreamy violin and wobbly theremin over a solid melody; and the ukulele on ‘Transcontinental’ is superbly well judged. The tone of each track is different; from slow, moody and melancholic folk to indie-pop, you never quite know what’s coming next but you can be sure it’s all going to be well formed, well played and memorable.