The Dublin five piece returned in March to release there second album ‘Ephemera’. The album title suggests this will only be of importance for a short a time. However, the blending styles of the two vocalists suggest longevity more often than not.
The Stephen Appleby fronted songs tend to have Fleet Foxes and Grandaddy sense of melancholy and beauty to them. Opener 'The Song They Play Every Night' sets the tone by decreeing 'If you don’t love me now / You didn’t love me before'. Set to a steadily increasing tempo and jingle jangle guitars, it’s a bona fide indie winner.
‘The Garden Of Death’ continues on the same veil with the harmonies heavily influenced by the Fleet Foxes debut. There is a solid slice of The Shins served up too, this gives the song a genuine sense of purpose, rather than just showing off harmonies which, this kind of song can often fall victim too.
What also sets this song above the rest is, the conflicting styles and contrasts within. The defiance from the songs lead character provides the uplift whilst the music pulls towards a gloomier state of affairs. That ability, to enjoy oneself despite the constant knocks, is something to heed.
The tracks sung by Faye O'Rourke on the other hand, have a far more immediate impact. This is because of one simple fact, O'Rourke is a powerhouse vocalist who combines the power of Adele with the indie-punk nodes of PJ Harvey.
‘Easier Day’, with its XX guitar riff witnesses O'Rourke set her vocals to stun. As the floaty riff holds the sound in a more mainstream indie realm, O'Rourke delivers a rage of angst and hurt as the story's lead laments her mother's reactions:
“It gets better, better, better / When I hear my mother crying in her sleep / It gets better, better, better / When I know that all the crying is for me.”
The problem with vocals so obviously great are, the tendency to just rely on them. This is fine when your Whitney Houston or Mariah Carey and your average fan just wants to here an amazing set of pipes. In a band as talented as Little Green Cars, songs like 'I Don't Even Know Who' make you think, where's the juxtaposition of sound etc. Maybe we are just being greedy.
The album closes with 'The Factory', and is the albums best track. Everything the two singers attempted on their own combine on this record and its so much better for it. The innocence and fragility of Appleby takes the lead for the most part, but, when they combine with O'Rourke, something magical happens.
Essentially, 'Ephemera' has repeated the successes and failures of their debut 'Absolute Zero'. There are some stand-out moments which, inevitably will win lots of favour at festivals this summer. Unfortunately there is some filler as well. The difference this time round is, that the bar has been raised significantly. The weaker tracks rival the debuts middling to good tracks and the highlights comfortably eclipse the likes of 'Harper Lee' and 'The John Wayne'.