From the very first finger picked chords of Grapefruit Moon’s track ‘Haze’, you’re entranced. Beautiful and sumptuous, circular chord progressions spin around gently, pulling your mind out towards some distant pastoral horizon. On first listen, those 40 seconds of acoustic guitar are also trepid steps into nervy, familiar territory.
What if, such a wonderful beginning to this song is ruined by some really shockingly bad vocals? We all know that acoustic singer-songwriter stuff can be totally obliterated by weak-ass, unoriginal pop vocals. Luckily, the vocals are a reassuring and wondrous addition to the tracks overall wistful atmosphere. Murky, trans-Atlantic reverb sodden harmonies twist around each other creating a swathe of ghostly vocals.
Another aspect of ‘Haze’ which makes it stand out from much of the lo-fi faux-folk you hear a lot of these days is the attention to detail with regards to the song’s craft as well as the simplistic, yet thankfully varied orchestration. The flutter of a clarinet, warped backing vocals, the change of pace towards the end signalled by the introduction of a piano and, more importantly, the vocal melody itself lending to the songs modesty and quiet ambition.
It’s a delicate thing, but a beautiful one. Held together by thin strands, if any one part of ‘Haze’ were to break, the whole song would collapse into obscure banality. Thankfully, Grapefruit Moon seem to possess the appropriate aspiration for innovation to reinforce these delicate strands and create something enduringly powerful.
For fans of: Simon and Garfunkel, Thousands, Nick Drake, Grizzly Bear