Portland-based folk act MayMay (aka songwriter Laurel Simmons) is a project that is incredibly easy to put in a box and write off as a cliche. The video for new single, 'All Is Still,' for example, opens with Futura title text and predominantly features vintage women's clothing and hipstamatic style camera filters. The song itself is largely made up of lightly played acoustic guitar, glockenspiel, and violins. It'd be pretty easy to watch it, make a joke about tumblr, and move on to the next thing.

But this is all ignoring the fact that 'All Is Still' is actually a pretty damn beautiful song. MayMay might not be trying anything entirely original or ambitious, but what she lacks in those departments she makes up for in good old-fashioned beauty. If the pieces that make up this debut EP are well-worn hallmarks of folk music, they're all produced and performed just about as prettily as possible. The guitar is played steadily and with feeling, and its sound alone is enough to conjure up an woodsy atmosphere and images of sunny days. And Simmons' vocals fit perfectly into the mix, her airy-yet-earthy delivery allowing tracks like 'All Is Still' to pack a significant emotional punch. So, while MayMay might seem to fit into a somewhat disposable category at first, she actually seems to possess a lot of potential to transcend that and create something really worthwhile.

That being said, 'All Is Still' is definitely the album's best realization of that potential. While opener 'Born a Fable' is similarly quite beautiful and well-constructed, it ends a bit abruptly before it has time to reach the climax that it seems to yearn for and ends up feeling slightly undercooked. Still, it's some really quality indie-folk and, along with 'All is Still,' is sure to be a hit with any fans of Bon Iver's pre-Kanye work. As the EP goes on, MayMay increasingly goes into a less pop direction, relying less on pretty vocal melodies and more on the sheer aesthetic of the instrumentation and production. While this is interesting and has a lot of potential to give MayMay a more unique character, the two songs that follow don't leave much of an impression and ultimately sound a bit too vaguely similar.

Final track 'If It Remains Light' is probably the most directionless and abstract MayMay gets here, although this definitely isn't a bad thing. The result is very atmospheric, an effect that's accentuated by the use of field recording. It actually reminds me of Animal Collective's early collection of ambient folk, Campfire Songs, more than anything I've heard from popular indie folk bands, which speaks of, if nothing else, the breadth of Simmons' vision.

MayMay will no doubt be easily ignored by most folk-skeptics, but for fans of the style, this debut EP is definitely worth checking out. She doesn't exactly bust down any doors, but she definitely knows how to produce some quality acoustic music and do it with just enough character to keep things interesting. With enough time and artistic growth, it's pretty easy to see this project going on to do something worth getting really excited about.