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Ben Marwood & Quiet Quiet Band - Lay Low
Digital
£4.49

Ben Marwood & Quiet Quiet Band

Lay Low

Josaka

Released: 4th February 2013 | 8 track british folk ep

Reading's finest tag team prepare split record.

When Neil Sedaka claimed that breaking up is hard to do, he clearly never had to market a split record, the very concept a bit like taking two pieces of a jigsaw that wouldn't normally go together and cheerily reshaping them using nothing but the power of the mind or maybe some garden shears.

As it happens, Ben Marwood and Quiet Quiet Band were already pretty familiar with each other before this whole debacle began, sharing plenty of stages both home and away and with two of Quiet Quiet Band popping up on Marwood's yet-to-be-announced second album, due spring 2013. With QQB's first single, Flatlands, being released on Marwood's now-defunct label Broken Tail Records earlier in 2012, Lay Low brings with it an air of expectation, and we're never ones to disappoint.

After a 2011 spent touring the nation with the likes of Frank Turner, two headline tours of England and his first ever festival headline slot at Cheltenham's 2000Trees festival in support of his debut album (Outside There's A Curse, Xtra Mile Recordings), Ben Marwood spent most of 2012 constructing a second record, taking a break only to play to a sold-out Camden Barfly with Billy Bragg and – at the invitation of aforementioned Turner and Xtra Mile - half-dance, half-shuffle on a replica of Glastonbury Tor at the opening ceremony of London 2012 in front of a TV audience of seventeen squillion or so.

Marwood's four offerings on Lay Low make reference to none of these things, but instead switch from brief piano led ballads to a full-band showdown via the type of lone finger-picked folk guitar that decorated the first album and if his songs on regret, blind optimism, temptation and even more temptation aren't quite your thing, perhaps you'd prefer six-piece epic songsters Quiet Quiet Band and their songs about poisoned fudge, dashed dreams and.. wait, poisoned fudge?

Led by one Paul Smith (but probably not one of the ones you've already heard of) QQB specialise in writing pastoral arrangements that could almost pass as traditional folk (viola, keys, harmonies) until you realise a lot of their songs are about murder; from the all I want to do is wear your face of 'Fudge' to the illegal stand-offs of 'Homemade Pistol',QQB's contributions shift cleverly from folk-stomp to brooding, subtly overwhelming tales. Home-recorded production discourages gloss, exposing Smith's dark, tuneful and highly perceptive storytelling. Expect more murder ballads later in 2013.

"big on charm, humour and heartfelt sentiment"
Review, Kerrang
"packed with witty lyrical observations.. bold, intelligent"
Review, Rocksound
"powerful, neatly constructed harmonies and sassy country-folk.. Are they quiet? Absolutely not. Do your ears need to be exposed to them immediately? Definitely."
Review, Reading Chronicle