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Reviewed by Bridie Chetwin-Kelly

Fables: Portraits EP

Reviewed by Bridie Chetwin-Kelly

Fables: Portraits EP

Folk ensemble Fables, fronted by Jess Bailey, have released their first EP – the 8-track independent ‘Portraits’ was released through New Zealand’s “first true and exclusive folk music label” Second Hand Records.

Without sounding cliché, it is truly the perfect melancholy. Painting mental pictures of rolling green hills, long winding roads and rural New Zealand this could be considered the perfect road trip album.

Bailey who writes the music for the group says she was listening to a lot of English folk singer Laura Marling and was inspired by Courtney Barnett’s way of telling stories when she wrote this album.

Tracks like Wherever You Are, I Am really prove this, telling the story of a trip gone wrong up to a bach but being with someone you love making it okay. What is a particular highlight of the debut effort from the collaborative group of musicians is perhaps all of the instruments they use, not limited to Cello, double bass, drums, violin, guitar and clarinet?

On The Way That I Do you hear that clarinet and you find yourself wondering why people don’t use clarinets more often. We Could Be All is a real stand out track, it seems to be about love but it plays out in a way that is uniquely sombre to folk, “Only inspired by TV love” Bailey sings.

Whilst it is commonly known that New Zealand really kills it when it comes to the genre of indie folk, it seems it really is just starting to ramp up across the country.

The album is perhaps best heard intimately, in a car, on a long walk through nature or whilst creating some kind of art in your room on a cool autumns’ day. ‘Portraits’ is a real collaborative effort talent wise and it shows.