This review was originally published at GoldFlakePaint.
The world of indie folk finger-picking sound has a new hero in Tatterattles. When I first heard this EP, the best description I could come up with was it sounds like Sufjan Stevens met The Tallest Man On Earth. Isn’t it funny how all we try to do in this business/craft/obsession is explain to others what it is that this music makes us feel? This self-titled EP by Tatterattles gives me the same feelings as the work by those two artists; it is smoothly sensual in a peasant-like fashion, it reminds me of a simpler time, while I am simultaneously sure that I am listening to a wiser soul than I relate its experience.
A mere five songs long, this brilliant little record feels like a shooting star, glimmering past with enough speed and beauty to make you miss it as soon as its over, wishing you could somehow reclaim the moment it was filling your ears. Benjamin Fletcher, the man behind this onomatopoeia of a pseudonym, writes the same simple, sparse poetry that made Sam Beam one of the most beloved folk songwriters of our time. It seems to flow from a fountain of intimacy and privacy that only those it concerns really know what it means, but the rest of us can grasp at the scraps and tatters he provides, assigning our own meaning and finding our own beauty in the rattling and shuffling words.
On the EP opener “Alas, Alack!” Fletcher bemoans “i wouldn’t know the answer / i wouldn’t know the truth / and truth be told / i’d rather pull out my own tooth” a line that looks almost like a nursery-rhyme when written out but sounds like a monastery chant when delivered. This is truly the power of Tatterattles, the delivery of lines both compelling and silly, of words both desperate and hopeful. On “Learning How To Fly” Fletcher’s vocals appear peripherally around the edges of a wavery female vocalist and the trimmings of bird song creating a memorably short patchwork of sound.
Tatterattles EP will be released February 18th on Holy Ghost Records, a self-proclaimed “brand spanking new label” based in Folkestone; an aptly named town for a label putting out records like this one. The release is highly limited though with only 100 copies being released, each with a sleeve that Fletcher made himself (and a free coaster I hear!). If you’re anywhere near Googies Art Café in Folkestone on February 18th, make it a point to attend his record release party, for this one is a gem of a record, given as a gift from a heart that beats with a rare ferocity and a gentle hope.