Having released music with a variety of different artists over the years, most recently as a member of the Slit, Swan Sky Sea Squirrel sees Canadian singer Doug Tielli releasing his debut solo album. Tielli apparently recorded the album on his own in an "artist retreat centre" in Toronto, playing almost every instrument himself. The result of this is that the production feels deeply intimate, with every twanged guitar string feeling like its being played in the room right next to you and every minor mistake is left intact. This gives the album a rawness that really enhances the feel of Tielli's pastoral brand of indie-folk, and means this album feels really special in places.

Opener 'Yes I Am Lonely' kicks off with an explosion of gently plucked guitars like a shooting star in a pitch black sky, and is instantly appealing, with layers of vocals overlapping each other to beguiling effect. 'When The Sky Opens' really shows off the rare beauty of Tielli's voice. With minimal musical accompaniment, he unleashes a falsetto that you can't ignore, the kind of voice that sends a shiver down your spine. He continues the trend with the languid 'Riversea', a mournful coating of horns providing a backdrop for that voice, which feels like an instrument in its own right. With such a weapon at his disposal, you'd expect Tielli to milk it all the way through the album, but you'd be wrong. The delicate, shimmering 'Swan' sees him rein in his range, so that his voice doesn't overpower the music. 'Squirrel Tips' is the first real misfire on the album. Slightly too spacey for its own good and sounding like a record played at the wrong speed, it meanders along with no real structure. 'Santia', which features Tielli singing like a demented pixie over a melody-free cacophony is even worse. Awkward and out of place, it's unwanted filler.

Thankfully, these two missteps are the exception rather than the rule, and Tielli ends the album on a high, with the thoughtful 'Let Go Of The Vast Dark' and the beautiful lush album ender 'The Deepest End' ensuring that the listener leaves the record still feeling enchanted. It’s clear throughout that Tielli is making this record for no other reason than his love of music, and it's this passion that makes this such an enjoyable listen. At its best, it's the kind of album you can listen to at night, with no distractions around you. High praise indeed.