• maymay And So I Place You In the Setting Sun (CD, £13.95)

    label: Flau

    MayMay is Laurel Simmons. Hailing from Portland, Oregon, Simmons' debut solo album, "And So I Place You In the Setting Sun" is a gorgeous, quietly powerful mediation on the acceptance of transition. Simmons is no stranger to creating pastoral, evocative music, having exercised her considerable vocal and instrumental skills as a member of beloved Portland chamber-folk darlings Loch Lomond, as well as collaborations with a variety of other well-regarded acts, including Alela Diane and Rauelsson. "And So I Place You in the Setting Sun" is a remarkable record, willing to experiment with the tension between ambiance and rhythmic texture, while nostalgia and eloquent melodies arrange themselves into dynamics that are compelling yet wanting. The instrumentation blooms and fades like seasons through artful arranging and listeners come away with the notion of how triumphant the heart can be. The collision of Simmons' somber, ethereal vocals with lyrics permeated by images of sunlight and evocative themes of the process of letting go results in a record that truly sticks with the listener.

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