Intimate little records and intimate settings will stick with people for a while if they are struck in such a way where the performance just hits them the right way when and where they need it to mark the moment as memorable; quiet whispers and frantic yelps may spark the memory later or some ghost sound that speaks the necessary words to start the memory flood. Well, there I was in the basement watching a girl and her guitar watching people almost literally fall in love with the whole moment as she strummed those strings and sang her songs; it was a completely surreal moment watching others be captivated by just one girl and her guitar, and it may be something that I remember for years or something that will vanish into the depths of my memory.
That girl was the main brain behind the moniker Bad Braids (which I found out later and felt that name summed that moment up perfectly) and within the space of several weeks the debut cassette, Arrow And Orb, was sitting in my hand awaiting the inevitable click of the tape player to start the little wheel. Probably the most prominent aspect of this tape is the vocal performance of Megan Biscieglia (the aforementioned girl behind Bad Braids) and how it seems to morph seamlessly with whatever musical accompaniment is present at the time, but at the same time, her vocals always sound reminiscent of some other artist at the same time which certainly causes double takes as the record is playing (when the slide guitar slow laze of “I’s Honey” was playing in my car, my wife asked me if this was the new Hope Sandoval); at other times Biscieglia’s voice is quiet, unassuming, and frightfully cloy with her phrasing and delivery (the end of “Sans Ben (Hail! Hail! The Benji! Speak To Me Oh Wonderball!) is a perfect example of exactly what I am talking about here). The songs on Arrow And Orb are strong and are all quite easy to let play on as a soundtrack to whatever you are doing, but the EP plays like a nice little collection of songs rather than a whole (not that this is a bad thing, just makes it easy to listen to parts of the EP rather than the whole thing almost making the choice of this as a tape the perfect medium to hear it).
The one word that keeps popping into my mind when listening to Arrow And Orb is dumbstruck because that is exactly what this album leaves me while listening to it while the other descriptive hyperbole burble and buzz waiting for their turn; if there was a music review hyperbole magic eight ball that I shook to come up with my descriptions of records, this one would always come up dumbstruck, knowing full well that there were several others just not getting their say. Still, this little EP is captivating in its way with all the character and charm of those quiet moments that live on in your memory; if not for writing this, it would be the type of record that I would keep to myself for when I am alone and want to relax or calm down.
7.5 / 10
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