twelvefour The Paper Kites Wonderlick/Sony
Melbourne quintet the Paper Kites’ music has taken a few tangents since the delightful 2010 single Bloom, a delicate, folkie pop gem that hinted at Simon & Garfunkel, Bon Iver and a lessis-more acoustic aesthetic. Local producer Wayne Connolly had a hand in shaping that sound, including on the band’s debut album, States, in 2013. For this follow-up the Kites upped sticks to Seattle to record with US producer Phil Ek, whose credentials with Fleet Foxes, Father John Misty and the Shins seem well suited to the Paper Kites’ off-kilter folk-pop. Singer, guitarist and songwriter Sam Bentley explores themes of isolation, longing and inner turmoil generally, inspired in his vision by writing the material between the hours of midnight and 4am over a two-month period, a concept that gives the album its title. “This quiet desperation is killing me too,” he and guitarist Christina Lacy harmonise on the exquisite acoustic ballad A Silent Cause. These two voices meld even more successfully on another quiet moment, Turns Within Me, Turns Without Me. A similarly sparse and haunting ambience inhabits Neon Crimson, with Bentley’s voice at its most sweet and mournful over an eerie electric guitar motif. In contrast there are some delightfully brisk pop hooks in the fuller band songs, not least the opening Electric Indigo, which combines an electro-pop sensibility with a killer melody and soaring, irresistible chorus. Twelvefour is sublime and seductive.