The work of Jerome Alexander and his consortium of musicians always leaves me breathless. Everything is perfectly mastered, crisply recorded and checked to a tee to make sure the product that comes out the end is the best it could ever possibly be. Jerome’s first feature length, 2009’s Departures is still an album that sounds fresh and consistent. It’s soft melodramatic eclipse of powerful, twinning melodies still leave me in a state of limbo, jittering somewhere in between the conscious and the dreamful world of perfection, making for the most surreal of listens. It’s these situations that draw me closer to Jerome’s world of creation, as they touch me at my very core.

Folding Leaves is Message To Bear’s third commercial release, and is a step away from the touching melodramatic sound scapes that made me fall for them in the first place. But that doesn’t mean to say it’s lost any value, just pulling at different strings. New theories, thoughts, beats, and even a touch of vocals from Jerome on this record make it as plentiful as any of his previous work, but there’s a touch more influence of the musicians he’s so inspired by too – (Ólafur Arnalds, Sigur Ros, Explosions In The Sky).

Though at moments Folding Leaves does feel a little technical and over done, at others it makes for the most perfect of all music. ‘Wake Me’ is a glorious highlight, and the supreme stand out track of all of Jerome’s work to date. It’s slow start, flows softly into a river of acoustic ambience that glides bountifully alongside Jerome’s hushed and whimpering vocals. It’s like all of the best, surreal moments you’ve ever experienced, crafted masterfully into the weavings of one perfect, perfect song. ‘Mountains’ is another of these wonderful moments. It glares, from the middle of the album, growing from a plucked start, into a rich heart-warming blend of beats and strings. ‘We would run away / before the light of day / you know we always could / the mountains say, the mountains say,’ Jerome strings impressively into a network of instruments.

Folding Leaves is much the same perfection that i’ve come to know from Message To Bears. It’s probably the most personal portrait you’ll come to hear on a record this year. Its hand crafted, completely organic production is a touch of fresh relief. I just wish at moments Jerome would craft things simpler, both for the benefit of himself, and the listener. At moments ‘Folding Leaves’ feels overdone, over worked and just a bit try hard. It’s still perfect, but just like your favourite cardigan, a bit battered round the ages. Vest some time to Message To Bears and you’ll be rewarded with something very very special.