Hand Habits - Wildy Idle (Humble Before The Void)

by Nathan Fidler Rating:5 Release Date:2017-02-10

With plenty of experience now under her belt, Meg Duffy gives us a taste of what her core musical abilities are like by letting them shine alone on her first full album Wildly Idle (Humble Before The Void).

You could get a pretty good impression of the vibe on this album by listening only to the tracks with “(scene)” in the title. These little impressions are pinches of atmosphere, often with muffled talking in them somewhere; they don’t serve any great musical purpose, but the lingering atmosphere in them is relaxing and beguiling.

The same can be said of the musical side of the album too, though it’s a slow, quiet burner. ‘Flower Glass’ shows off a melodic sensibility which, unfortunately, isn’t matched anywhere else on the album. Delicate in it’s delivery, the chorus of “I hold you like a flower, I hold you like an hourglass” is both cryptic and yet heartbreaking.

‘All The While’ comes close to matching that quiet melancholy, but tracking at over five minutes, it begins to feel a little bloated by the end.

An album on which Duffy plays all the instruments and writes all the songs makes for an impressive debut, which is no mean feat since many bedroom-recorded albums rarely cut the mustard. If you’re searching for a comparison, you might say that this album feels like Warpaint if they decided to soften their edges for a sunday afternoon jam session.

What you’ll find across most of the album is a dreamy haze, which unless you’re sat bolt upright, straining with attentiveness, will pass you by. Even if it passes pleasantly, it feels like you’ve missed the point. The soft strumming of ‘New Bones’ is a sleepy end the album, so maybe the point is to drift you off to sleep; if so, well played Meg Duffy.

Often artists move for the soft, soundscapes in an effort to paint the noises in their head, but the fact is, unless is comes with melodic charm or some kind of musical intrigue it makes for a fairly dull listen. That’s the case here, because as nice as the album sounds as a whole, you won’t come back for much more than the opening track.

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