Rozi Plain - Inside Over Here and Pictish Trail - Secret Soundz Vol 1 (4 stars)

Rozi Plain - Inside Over Here and Pictish Trail - Secret Soundz Vol 1

(Fence Records)


These two wonderful offerings from the ever-expanding Fence Collective serve to highlight just how diverse and ambitious the East Neuk’s musical cottage industry has become. Rozi Plain is a young Bristol-based singer-songwriter, and this debut collection of intimate folk-flecked tunes is gorgeous, original and brimful of character. Plain’s sumptuous yet simple voice trips delicately over banjos, clarinet and accordion on tracks like ‘Stolen Shark’ and ‘Forks and Knives’, sounding like Kathryn Williams with Adem and Sufjan Stevens as backing band. The sparse, swaying arrangements throughout give her off-kilter melodies room to shine and given a decent tail wind Plain could easily establish herself at the front of the nu-folk pack.

In comparison, Pictish Trail’s debut is more eclectic and expansive, melding quirky acoustic strums with geek-beat rhythms, like James Yorkston arguing with Hot Chip. It all hangs together magnificently somehow, singer Johnny Lynch’s powerfully emotive vocals delivering everything from sublime melancholy on ‘I Don’t Know Where to Begin’ to almost unhinged fury on ‘Words Fail Me Now’. Chuck in a handful of irresistibly catchy sampler-led quasi-instrumentals and you’ve got a lo-fi gem Beck would be proud of. With these two releases, Fence cements its place at the forefront of innovative, charismatic music.

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