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Scattered by Birds

Scattered By Birds is the fourth release from local folk rock solo artist Paul Littlewood. Known across South Yorkshire for his raw, no-frills approach to recording, Littlewood’s sound balances strength and fragility in good ratios. After the excellent reaction to his last EP Butterfly House back in June 2012, it’s great to see that he has managed to maintain the same quality of sound whilst developing as a recording artist.

Listening to the album in a quiet room through a pair of headphones, it didn’t take long for the delicacies of the EP to bleed in. Although the compositions are quite simple, Littlewood toys with various instrumental effects, building subtle layers over one another without taking away from the crystal clear vocals. ‘Old Fox’ is a perfect example of this, never leading to a grand crescendo, but instead focusing on the clarity of each lyric with a wash of haunting strings drifting beneath. The absence of a drum kit adds to the fluid, enchanted feel of the song. It’s not until track two, verse two that the beat kicks in and we see a more pop-rock side to the lo-fi aficionado. This time we hear more delicacy in Littlewood’s voice, still managing to keep serenity and power in balance.

One of my favourite things about this record is the fact that each track has its own personality, whilst managing to complement the others as a collective. From new-traditional folk to slow and penetrative bluesy rock, there is a lot on offer in such a small group of tracks. Nothing showy, nothing that’ll make you jump to your feet, but make no mistake - this is certainly one that will stay with you.