Sometimes we just want something lovely, ‘Skipping Stones’ gives us just that. To a wash of brushed drums and gently bent guitars, there’s a loose ebb and flow of piano. And if this wasn’t soothing and softening enough, Alex Bayly’s falsetto glides easy. What we gain is a slow moving warm bedroom indie with roots steeped in Americana.
There’s a touch of Bon Ivor to the movement and speed and the love for forlorn isolation. While notes plucked like light that reflects high off water, there’ a space and a want to stay empty. There’s a balancing act between busy and clean that maintains a fine line just between them, no single part shuts out or treads on another, and not once does the wash sound compacted.
As the song shimmers by with its alt-folk and indie, Alex’s vocal stays centre. While harmonies build up and backings get bigger, there’s a danger of saccharine sweetness. But anytime we get close to something like overcooked, we’re just kept on the right side of fussy. Less is more is the mantra adopted, though ‘Skipping Stones’ is a long way from simple. It’s a soft rush of voices and synthsounds and layers that wants us just to sit back and breathe.
This was the first track on show, an EP pre-release, it might not have told us what intimate sounds peppered the songs that surround it. Consider this an introduction, the rest a warm-glow surprise, it’s a joy to unpick from these clean bedroom roots all the way up to Elliot Smith happy.