REVIEW: Vocal Few – She’ll Be Right

Artist: Vocal Few
Album: She’ll Be Right
Genre: Acoustic/pop/folk
Label: [none]

Vocal Few are a two-piece, composed of husband and wife Matt and Kristie MacDonald. This EP was inspired by the news that the couple was having a baby, and [Mr.] MacDonald’s subsequent crisis of conscience as to how to raise a child given the precariousness of his occupation. One would expect the record, which only contains four tracks, to ooze suitably warm and jovial sentiment as a result and it does make for a sunny listen. It’s not outstandingly good and may lack staying power, but its sixteen minutes are eager and positive and full of pretty, lilting vocal harmonies.

“Every Second” has the thrill of excitement from the off, with a strong piano refrain giving the EP an enthusiastic opener. The instrumentation remains relatively light throughout and creates a fresh, breezy atmosphere in which the duelling vocals can flourish. [Mrs.] MacDonald’s vocals add an airy, glassy sensibility to the stronger tones of her husband and the delicate contrast between the two breathes real life into the music. It’s not entirely accomplished however – an awkwardly contrived ‘hallelujah’ chorus mars its latter half and it’s missing a vividness that would have allowed it to really convince.

“The Fountain” is a much more complete track. The opening piano notes are laden with melancholy, lilting along in a slow and resigned manner that easily enthrals, no matter how clichéd it may sound. The vocals are exquisite once more, particularly Kristie’s dulcet offerings. She sings with a naturalness and conviction that’s entirely removed from the music and shines through this. Hers are the human, heartfelt tones to Matt’s more rugged and enthusiastic style. The song is perhaps a little too slow-moving, considering its meandering emotions. It could do with a little more flash and focus, as its tempo and set-up means it starts to ramble after a time. Yet, it has an unguarded honesty in its vocals that gives it sincerity and, much like the first track, it’s gorgeously tranquil and soothing. The MacDonalds’ effortless chemistry with one another affords the songs an easy fluidity and this gives the album a constant elegance, even if it doesn’t always realise its potential.

“We’ll Make It Someday” is looser and freer yet has a more fixed idea of what it wants to be. This reflects the resolve in the lyrics and makes for a comforting, thought-provoking listen. The vocals on this don’t endear quite as much as they have elsewhere but the instrumentation is perfectly chosen, the eager drive in the acoustic guitar combining well with the dreamy stirrings of the strings. “Mexico” is soft and loving. It uses the exotic locales implied by the title to compose a romanticised, meaningful tribute to adventuring and togetherness. Its spirit is understated but potent, evidenced by the ethereal and tender presence of the female singing, and the vocal interplay exudes spirit and exhilaration.

She’ll Be Right is obviously a labour of love and that feeling is infectious. The care, attention, and devotion that have gone into sculpting these tracks is self-evident, even if this came at the cost of form as some pieces get lost in their own whimsical musings. The delicacy of the sound and sincerity of intent is delightful and these four songs will find a way to give life to whatever wayward emotions you may be nursing.

SCORE: 8/10
Review written by Grace Duffy

James Shotwell
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