Eb & Sparrow (Ebony Lamb, Justin Barr, Gram Antler, and Bryn Heveldt) have been carving out a noir-Americana/ Southern (New Zealand) Gothic niche for themselves over the last couple of years, with melancholia and longing in their musical textures, and dripping from Ebony Lamb’s sultry voice.
‘Seeing Things’ is their third album, one filled with Lamb’s simultaneously mournful and uplifting alt-country torch songs, best exemplified by the crooning country track My Old House, which adds a trumpet solo to give a stately edge.
The band’s familiar sound has a duality – while an authentic alt-country record on songs like Prodigal, it is also in part a blues record, with forlorn brass, and slide guitars underpinning the smoky qualities of Lamb’s vocal delivery, especially potent on Death.
The songs don’t disappoint: Mt. Vic is tranquil, with an ease and flow of melody, and a slide guitar adds to the impression of expansive horizons, while new single Working is bluesy du-wop, one of the album’s highlights.
Augmented with strings from Anita Clarke (Motte), brass from Sharon Boyd and Andrew Leggett added percussion by Joe McCallum, and keys by Stephen Gallagher, ‘Seeing Things’ does not extend Eb & Sparrow’s core sound, but is very effective – definitely no need to fix something that ain’t broken.