Little Green Cars: 'Ephemera' Review
Ephemera has been called a transitional album by Dublin based 5-piece Little Green Cars. The second album to be released by the Irish band, it takes its title from a Yeats poem of the same name. Opening with The Song They Play Every Night the band present themselves as dappling in lilting-folk. That said, for an opener, the song allegedly played every night doesn’t really go anywhere. If each moment of interest within the track were a line graph, it would unfortunately hover dangerously close to the X-axis. In fact, a large percentage of the album can be considered some sort of musical asymptote, continually trudging onwards with little spark. Interest is briefly perked with the band’s use of harmonized vocables, however later you realise these are used on pretty much every track on the entire album, and they become irksome and warbling.
Moving into You Vs Me we meet the first of many Fleetwood Mac impersonations (The Garden of Death, The Factory, Winds of Peace), all fronted by male vocalist Stevie Appleby who, in fairness, exudes a very tuneful falsetto. Whilst these tracks stand as a good example of the actually, quite delicious, harmonies between Appleby and female vocalist Faye O’Rourke they are yet again irritatingly peppered with the (by this point) dirgey vocables. Admittedly too, they are ‘pretty’ tracks that at moments even verge on gritty, but each one lacks any sort of true climax. Sometimes it’s the lyricism that lets the band down. The Party, musically, is an attractive pizzicato/ moody synth affair until we are affronted with Appleby’s repetitive concern: “I don’t want to wreck your party” to the point where he hasn't only “wrecked the party” but we too feel we attended (and wish we hadn’t).
That said, there are moments within this fairly eclectic album where you feel it is going somewhere. Easier Day and I Don’t Even Know Who are particular highlights, both fronted by O’Rourke’s bruised vocals which stand strong in their monophony before gritty, moving guitar both complements and accents them. The piano accompaniment is punchy. The lyrics feel (for once) truthful and earnest: “hindsight fucks me all the time”. In fact, these tracks are so clinically honest it feels as though they do not need some climactic catharsis, therefore when it comes, it is a mesmerising surprise. As Easier Day tells us “it gets better”, it seems more as if O’Rourke is alluding to the album itself, rather than an existential coping mechanism…
Clair De Lune is another of these moments. The guitar melody is not only catchy but possesses a certain spacey, ethereal quality that is almost hypnotic, accented by an ascending two note piano motif. The lift into the chorus feels as though it should be cheesy, but there’s something quite poignant in the fragility of Appleby’s vocals here that excuses the Moby-laden reverb and delay.
The nature of the album means it feels as though there are perhaps too many tracks. Listening to it in its entirety is worthwhile, but you do end up trying to locate the raisins from the blandness of the muesli. One thing Ephemera isn’t however is ephemeral. Locate the raisins, and it will stick.
Ephemera is available to download on iTunes now.