Eb & Sparrow – Seeing Things (Deadbeat/Southbound)

Seeing Things is the third album by Eb & Sparrow, the band featuring the sultry vocals of the perfectly-named Ebony Lamb.

Over the course of those three albums, Eb & Sparrow have fine-tuned their particular brand of noir-Americana…imagine The Cowboy Junkies as produced by David Lynch.

While that sound may not be wholly original, it is alluring, and Ebony Lamb and her cohorts have produced a beautifully-realized soundscape with Lamb’s swooning vocals providing an emotional anchor to the nine songs that comprise Seeing Things.

Just listen to Lamb’s control and delivery on opening track, Death, as she lets the words “everybody knows” drift off into the ether.  Never has death sounded so sublime.

Ebony taps into her inner Patsy Cline on The Timbers, while the lap steel, organ and twangy guitar create an unsettling, yet narcotic mood…why, this song alone should inspire David Lynch to produce another season of Twin Peaks.

While Lamb’s voice is the focal point, this is a collaborative effort.

Gram Antler’s dark guitar lines serve as the perfect counterpoint to Ebony’s voice. Drummer Justin Barr’s beats are sparse, but precisely placed. Bryn Heveldt’s lap steel does what a lap steel does…evokes that wide open space that seems to exist only in songs full of heartbreak, loneliness and longing.

Special props go out to Anita Clark, aka Motte, who colours much of the album with her strings. Clark’s fiddle sends the final track, Gram Antler’s stately My Old House, off with plenty of old country charm. And just when you think it can’t get any better, Sharon Boyd chimes in with a wonderful trombone solo.

2018 is shaping up to be a banner year for Kiwi music and Eb & Sparrow’s Seeing Things is top of the list at this point.

Marty Duda