Orlando is the debut album by Seafarers, the new musical vehicle of Scottish songwriter, composer, and saxophonist Matthew Herd, who’s toured extensively around the globe with artists from the world of jazz including Misha Mullov-Abbado, Liam Noble, Will Glaser, DJ Yoda and Tom Taylor.
But it’s Lauren Kinsella who fronts and provides vocals for this Royal Academy alumni collective, and who, in context, brings the soul to the set of 9 acoustic-led songs
‘A Day Like Any Other’ is anything but ordinary, an acappela vocal that reaches all the parts, including the very depths of the soul, trills and reverberates, with barely a hint of piano softly tinkling in the background. And so we are introduced the ‘Orlando’, the most delicate of albums, sometimes so spare as to be but a shadow, yet so graceful, beautiful, haunting. There are subtly folk elements to the six-minute ‘The Lighthouse’, a song so understated as to be more of a glowing ember than a shoreland beacon.
There’s nothing overtly challenging here, and this is a set geared toward accessibility and musicality: the quintet mine a seam of listenable folk-orientated songwriting that’s steeped in a combination of wistful and whimsical. ‘Wider Spaces’ brings juicy jazz flavours, while ‘Virgin Soil’ adds a late-night smoky basement jazziness and a laidback country flavour to the sparse piano-led arrangements
‘You, Asleep in the Morning’ marks something of a departure, being more of a spoken-word piece accompanied by a slow-dripping piano. While you may drift and lose the narrative thread and become disoriented as the tempo changes, rolling and pitching unpredictably, it’s a magnificently moving piece, that leaves a certain emptiness as we’re led though the lilting closer, ‘Reprise’ with its trilling birdsong and sense of space.
‘Orlando’ is a wonderfully sparse, considered album that speaks volumes without volumes, an introspective masterpiece.