An appearance at Hard Working Class Heroes in 2012 brought Sans Chateaux to the attention of a wider audience and out of their cocoon in Middleton, Cork. Much more than simply folk music, they bring in elements of chamber pop which display a greater depth on the ‘Sans Chateaux’ EP, similar to a release last year from another upcoming Irish act, A Dark Horse.
Holy Venus has a hurried mandolin strum with overtones of Simon and Garfunkel. The vocals are immediately impressive and almost act like an extra layer of instrumentation. Unexpectedly a brass section smoothly enters and leaves towards the end of the song. Wayfarers is almost too gorgeous to contemplate. Beginning with a simple piano intro and harmonies which echo of The Beach Boys, it expands to become a lush moreish sugar-coated opus. Akin to dunking chocolate fingers in a cream egg.
Lee Inland is even more baroque than the previous two tracks. It has a dreamy lazy Sunday morning feel and is no less impressive than Wayfarers. Lee Inland contains similar pacing, song structure and musical contribution to the two previous songs but arranges them with their own distinguishable effects.
Last track Scholarship is the weakest song of the EP. It contains a lot of the elements that made the previous songs on the EP so captivating but the particular arrangement of those separate parts just does not ensnare the imagination. Somewhat like jamming a piece of a jigsaw into a section just to make it fit, rather than it being correct.
This is easy music to admire. None of the songs over stay their welcome and are all tightly condensed in and around the three and a half-minute mark. Sans Chateaux have shown hints of what they are capable of, so there is much to look forward to.