The superbly-named Albatross Archive are a four-piece from Cardiff who dispense a soul/jazz/pop hybrid with a theatrical bent. Infact they provided the soundtrack for a production of Shakespeare’s ‘Measure For Measure’ earlier this year. This particular EP, however, showcases a band with a talent for vocal harmony.
‘One By One’ kicks off the EP impressively with the original trio all contributing to some thrilling, breathless vocal interplay, which is matched all the way by some frenetic guitar strumming. ‘Sodium’ is an excursion in to 1980’s jazz pop territory and forms the basis of what is to follow. The melodic structure to the song is almost heroically off-kilter, particularly when Ruth Morris’ flue playing seems to be performing an entirely different tune. The group re-establish some kind of order (with their singing especially) on ‘Illustrations’ and ‘King Of Hearts’, even if the latter does seem to be rather overwrought.
There’s a “nice at dinner parties” vibe to ‘Home Away From Home’ which doesn’t necessarily sit comfortably in the modern agenda. However, if the group emphasise the strength in their harmonies and continue to vary their style, a consistent level of greatness is not beyond them.