London based duo Snowpoet have released their debut EP Butterfly, and it is a blast of pure poetry in a beat-dominated industry. What Butterfly lacks in length it makes up for in the quality of each track, which are all soft combinations of ambient alt-folk and spoken word reminiscent of the original 90's genre goddess Bjork. Also like Bjork, there is an element of free-flowing jazz music to their compositions. If nothing else, the group members -vocalist Lauren Kinsella and bassist Chris Hyson – are down to the roots songwriters who can actually play a live set. And the musical intelligence behind Butterfly is clear the entire time that the EP flutters it's wings, as it is entirely understandable why Snowpoet would draw comparisons to one of the great alternative innovators.
Opener "Always" is by far the most poetic track on the EP and has some very jazzy elements in the piano and drum composition. Her introspective lyrics drive into the listener and send them on a search for answers within, especially in the one phrase "We alone listen to our thoughts and try to make sense of them," which certainly strikes a chord.
The EP then goes into the interlude "1953," which is disarmingly simple but moving with chords by keyboardist Matt Robinson, who is featured in their live performances. Played on an authentic Wurlitzer piano, there is only one word to describe this transition and that is lovely.
Third track "Butterflies" is a symbolically themed piece and based on the death of Hyson's father, with blurry images lightly sung and recited by Kinsella complete with light drum brushes by percussionist Dave Hamblett and mellow guitar lines from Nick Costley-White. Her smooth slips between airy singing and spoken word truly evoke the feeling of the butterflies that flew from the walls of the sealed coffin at the funeral.
With all of the poetry contained in this EP, final track "Alive With Closed Eyes" is the clincher since it is actually based on the famous E. E Cummings poem "I Will Wade Out." The musical re-work continues to draw Bjork comparisons as Cummings verses have also been put to her track "Sun In My Mouth," but Snowpoet gives it their own alt-spin.