Label: Bella Union

Bella Union duo Thousands' acoustic forays are beset with adventuring guitar work, knotted vocal harmonies and lurking birdsong samples. Their debut release The Sound of Everything is an enjoyable if unchallenging romp that coasts through twelve amiable cuts of tender folk put together in 'abandoned barns and woodland cabins', the recording scheme de jour for artists since Bon Iver's rural retreat wielded the seminal For Emma Forever Ago in 2007.

The Seattle two-piece's greatest strength is quite simply their songs. On 'Big Black Road' the two nylon-string guitars entwine to form a mournful tapestry of plucked ostinatos and soft melodic climbs, the faint influence of Ben Gibbard lingering over in its sweet simplicity and poeticism. The more daring 'Red Seagulls' is similarly impressive, flitting through a masterful show of finger-picking finesse. It whirs into a fury of activity but soon calms to segue into a minute and a half of gently strummed cadences in a charmingly incongruous four minutes of music.

The title track of the album recounts Grizzly Bear's more ethereal endeavours and has enough wistful longing and compositional whimsy to fill a Pet Sounds b-side or two. Offering a respite from the dry palette that defines the rest of the record, its passages of song are steeped in reverberating keyboard swells and claw you into its arresting melancholy.

Thousands stumble slightly in the reverence they afford to their influence, which sometimes sadly crowds their work. 'Sun Cuz' could easily be lifted from the Simon and Garfunkel song catalogue, so indebted it is to their breezy harmonised wanderings, and is hard to judge on its own merits. 'At the Edges' is also guilty of this, closely recalling the momentum and austere drift of fellow Oregon native Peter Broderick's Not at Home. The record feels at time like a homily to the genre rather than the duo's own spin on it. All this doesn't detract immensely from the record, but it does leave you probing the Sound of Everything title for signs of irony.

Though lacking slightly in personality, this is an accomplished debut that is littered with reasons to give Thousands your attention.

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