Mod­ern Stud­ies

Sunday Star-Times - Escape - - FRONT PAGE -

Swell to Great (South­bound) ★★ Why is in­die folk so bor­ing? A gross gen­er­al­i­sa­tion of course, but there does seem to be a gen­eral train of thought that as long as it’s slow, with plenty of echo and maybe the odd or­ches­tral ac­com­pa­ni­ment, well, hey, that’s all you need. En­ter Scot­tish folkies Mod­ern Stud­ies. Swell to Great isn’t nec­es­sar­ily a bad al­bum – the pro­duc­tion is crys­tal clear, singer Emily Scott has a lovely voice and there’s some nice gui­tar play­ing to be found, but where’s the flavour? It’s an al­bum that rarely leaves first gear, and never sec­ond. It just sort of drones along, with a stupid har­mo­nium lurch­ing in and out and each song sound­ing al­most ex­actly like the last. Slow and melan­choly, yes, but that doesn’t au­to­mat­i­cally equal qual­ity. – Jack Bar­low

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