Hushed indie folk that soothes you to slumber.
Maple Glider is the solo project of Tori Zietsch. Having travelled from Australia to the UK, exploring the world following a restrictive religious upbringing, she’s spent a long time in self-reflection. This translates to a hazy, soft brushed indie-folk album full of acoustic guitar, curious piano motifs and wistful voice. Maple Glider has her sound nailed down.
There is a traditional singer-songwriter vibe and a homegrown warmth to Maple Glider’s debut album. ‘To Enjoy is the Only Thing’ is a strange album in that it feels lonely and melancholy but sounds innately warm at all times. The guitars have a glow to them, the piano is often delicately weighted or recorded ‘in room’. Tracks like ‘Baby Tiger’ and ‘Be Mean, It’s Kinder Than Crying’ have that bedroom pop lo-fi recording quality to them. I’m not always a fan of that style when an artist can make a pristine dream sound work so well but Maple Glider can do both.
The majority of the album is recorded with a hazed hush to it, reminding me of classic 70’s folk albums. This cabin in the wood’s style of music means that most tracks are really stripped back and it allows the clarity of the melodies and vocals to shine through. The warmth of ‘Mama It’s Christmas’ is the kind of ballad you’ll sway to with candles. Elsewhere ‘As Tradition’ and ‘Swimming’ could be from Laura Veirs but with a more angelic voice.
Whilst I was personally hoping for more of a quirky and alternative twist going in (as I’d only heard ‘Swimming’ and ‘As Tradition’ before buying the album), I’m not disappointed the album moves away from that alt-piano folk vibe that kicks the album off. What this body of work shows is that Maple Glider can work her magic in alt-folk, acoustic, traditional and lo-fi settings and still sound superb. Just be aware that the singles set a rockier expectation than the album provides.
That minor quirk aside, ‘To Enjoy is the Only Thing’ is a beautiful album that will be in heavy rotation alongside other folk artists. It is a strong debut, with some interesting personal lyrical content about her upbringing and feeling lonely in the world. That loneliness and isolation carry through to make a ghostly and wistful album. It’s a fine balance between haunting and ethereal dreamlike but this whole album straddles the two perfectly. The songs are designed to make you cry or make you think and they do just that. Soft gut punches only.
Recommended track: Swimming
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