Menu | Rating System | Guest Book | Archived Reviews:
A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z


And So I Place You In the Setting Sun




Flau Records

Release Date:


Reviewed by:

MayMay is Laurel Simmons, a Portland-based musician who used to be involved with a band i have never heard of, called Loch Lommond. And So I Place You In the Setting Sun is her debut solo release, although apparently there are other people helping her out here.

Simmons sings, but there are backing vocals, sometimes male. There is piano, picked guitar, light drumming, and some kind of drone that i think is a subtle cello. It is pretty, vaguely folkish music. At time, when there are female voices backing Simmons, the effect is almost like Azure Ray. However, all of the instrumentation is light and sparse, which is a perfect showcase for her voice.

The title track is first, a laconic sort of tune with a steady kick drum, picked guitar, and lots of vocals. Pretty. However, on The Fall a male voice joins in the background, his voice really blending well with hers. Otherwise it is a tune of light licked guitar, but it is really beautiful. The way the two voices blend is just stunning. Here, listen for yourself at SoundCloud.

Simmons channels Vashti Bunyan on Stories We Lived By for most of the song, with just her voice and strummed acoustic carrying the song along. But on the chorus, other voices join faintly in the background while a cello saws. The song grows slowly, but is nicely done.

If It Remains Light is a sparse folk tune, just a scattering of guitar as her voice carries it along. And then Simmons slows it down even more on Lines To Water, just barely picking the guitar while crooning slowly. An organ drone and a ponderous bass line join in, and then electric guitar and drums as the song explodes, with the whole band singing wordlessly, just crooning. This is utterly gorgeous, both in the instrumentation, the layering of the sounds, and in the way it grows. Damned fine work.

In The Fields is a little different, built out of organ drone, piano, and sparse thudding drums instead of acoustic guitar. The song spreads out in the middle to a part with bare drums and pedal steel playing slowly in a way that reminds me a lot of Red House Painters. And then the whole band comes in, lots of voices harmonizing as the piano tinkling away in another achingly gorgeous tune.

Simmons strips it down a bit for Bringing Home, where she plays piano and sings. This is okay i guess, but not her best work. She stays with the piano for Undertow, here playing a rolling riff coupled with steady bass guitar. It is a more active song than the previous few tracks, but it is not like she is doing speed metal all of a sudden. There is a really nice guitar part towards the end, two guitars picking notes in cascading layers.

And finally the album wraps up with Winter Air, a lovely song of sparse piano and heavily tremoloed guitar. The whole band sings, the vocals getting deep and the album fades out.

Overall, i am very impressed. This is a lovely record, and Ms. Simmons and co. are doing some interesting things.

Related Links:



Return to the top of this page. | Return to the Album Review menu.