Label: Communion Music Release date: 07/06/10 Link: Myspace Laura Marling is making a habit of pushing her talented band mates into the spotlight. It certainly worked for Marcus Mumford, who was transformed from little drummer boy into stomping folk-rock sensation. Now is the turn of Pete Roe, who moves accomplishedly from all-round accompaniment duties for Miss Marling to the main attraction on 4-track E.P. Merry-Go-Round. Mumford fans, be prepared though, this could not be more different. Merry-Go-Round hopefully represents a delicious taster of plenty more offerings to come, as it is, quite simply, gorgeous. With just an acoustic guitar and his gentle, innocent voice in his armoury, Roe has penned some classically simple, yet beautifully tender and lilting love songs. They will resonate inside and around you long after your 16-minute rendez-vous. ‘Bellina’ gets things started an uplifting invitation to elope. As you soak up the exposed and rhythmic riff, Roe’s quintessentially English accent and honest lyrical excitement take you by the hand into the big wide world and ‘across the ocean’, with the kind of ‘seize the day’ attitude that blows away the clouds of our lacklustre summer. Take me with you, Pete. ‘Oh Susannah’, by contrast, is a wistful, reflective look back on a missed opportunity. Roe’s blind optimism and forgiving nature will tear at your heartstrings, and his at-once powerful and delicate vocals will pull your emotions to pieces. If the tempo picks up at any point, it is on ‘Underneath The Apple Tree’, and it works well. It feels, almost as in a live show, as if our protagonist has settled into his role as lead man here, and the guitar becomes playful, almost bluesy, as the impetus builds and Pete’s patience and politeness are pushed aside – ‘I think I feel a new beginning, as the old doors all are closed’. However, title track Merry-Go-Round puts things right back in their place. The jangling open chords are almost spidery in their tone and the vocals become all but a whisper. Plenty of instrumental time provides plenty of opportunity for introspection, and Roe’s childhood imagery hides a much more serious feeling of desire. There’s a quiet desperation to slip away from the run-of-the-mill, away from the repetition of daily life and to be alone with his love. Powerful stuff. Marling herself would surely be proud of this disc. In a few songs, Pete Roe has managed take a well-trodden route and do his own thing along the way. Ladies beware, tears may be shed, and gents, don’t be too proud to do it yourselves. Photobucket