Kathryn Bint has a voice that you can only fall in love with - fragile, beautiful, spellbinding, perfect for earnest Department Store advertisements and the first kiss scene from a film adaptation of the latest smash hit Young-Adult Fictional Novel. Into The Trees, the enchanting singer’s second album as One Little Plane, following on from 2008’s Until, is a real gooseflesh inducing moment capturer.
Produced surprisingly understatedly by Kieran Hebden, the album is a collection of calming songs with a few curveballs thrown in to avoid the listener falling into a pleasant mid-afternoon slumber. The first couple of songs are idyllic acoustic frolics into the land of placid and predictable. ‘Nothing Has Changed’ actually at one stage goes limp, and requires a welfare check.
And so it goes on. ‘Paper Planes’ at least ups the tempo, and I suppose that is a tick in the ‘pros’ column. But, aaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrgggggggggggghhh we’re back in dulltown on ‘It’s Alright’ and I don’t think I can take much more. I reach for the fork on my writing desk, still stained by the Bolognese sauce from the microwave meal I devoured two hours ago and the temptation to stick it into my one remaining good eye is overwhelming (the other one was lost in a clay pigeon shooting incident back in ‘07).
Six tracks in and there is something a little bit futuristic emerging from the minimalist electronica of ‘Bloom’, aside from this and the penultimate song ‘I Know’ which is an angry little blighter there really is a distinct lack of variety and scope, and considering the creative parties involved, you really would expect a lot more.
There is a sense of knowing smugness on Into The Trees which troubles me. Bint knows she has ‘the voice’, yet there doesn’t appear to be any hint of sincere emotion apparent. Perfection can be a weakness, particularly given that creating music is about expressing…. something… anything. Hebden’s production seems to reveal a reluctance to tamper too much with what isn’t broken, i.e. let’s keep this nice and folky, and not mess with the traditional formula; and Radiohead’s Colin Greenwood who provides bass guitar on the album, buzzworthy endorsement aside, his contribution matters little.
Bluntly speaking, I dislike this album. It bored me terribly, and for all the delights of Bint’s vocal performance there is about as much insight on display here as there is on your average post-match Football phone-in.