Bristol-based duo Kate McGill and Dan Broadley release their debut LP as Meadowlark, Postcards, this week following a string of well-received EPs and singles. Taking their name from a Fleet Foxes song and listing artists such as Lucy Rose and Bon Iver as influences, this album features expectedly emotive examples of alt-folk with surprising pop pearls amongst the mix. There are also nods to downtempo R&B on the likes of ‘Pink Heart’, with humming bass lines and pincer sharp piano keys similar to those of recent tour companions Aquilo.

Early single ‘Paraffin’ has a welcoming and theatrical instrumental opening; urgent reverberated synth and dramatic keys give way to Kate’s vocals demonstrating a passion that is underplayed elsewhere. The chorus has a sing-song Aurora-esque quality, cinematic percussion and strings lifting the track to the propulsive pop highs of fellow boy-girl duo done good Oh Wonder. Lead single ‘Body Lose’ is comparable to the well-known pair, its steady rhythm and vocal balancing act bridges the gap well between folk and an R&B alternative.

‘That’s Life’’s lyrics feel recognisable and applicable to our own woes, Kate’s voice swelling in time with a heart-tugging string arrangement, creating a moment where the album commands attention. ‘Satellites’ has sparseness as percussion echoes a way off, there is flirtation with xx like strings, yet nothing materialises above McGill’s soothed tones. ‘Fly’’s chorus has the Scandinavian bombast of Oh Land; although its verses are far less remarkable. Here lies the problem with Postcards: sparks of excitement exist in a landscape of safety.

Throughout you are willing Meadowlark to progress down more experimental paths. Tellingly the boldest and best track ‘Eyes Wide’ is the very first track the pair officially released - over two years ago. It has a dramatic structure that builds naturally to a hushed crescendo that entirely balances both vocal parts. The subtle drum lines and superb songwriting make it a stand-out pop track, yet frustratingly this courage in composition does not reoccur anywhere else on the record.

‘One’ has a sinfully uninspired chorus as Kate simply chants its title like a breathy, malfunctioning cassette tape. On an album that includes seven pre-released tracks; original material has to feel imperative to the collection as opposed to making up numbers. Free of major label pressure, it falls to the duo to take charge of quality control. While Postcards captures the surface pleasantries of an artist like Frances, it lacks the lyrical depth of somebody like Nick Mulvey and the startling dynamism of The Japanese House that would make people genuinely pay attention.