By moving away from the larger sound of their debut, James Hoare and Max Oscarnold have discovered an infectious calm
The Proper Ornaments are the project of James Hoare (Ultimate Painting, Veronica Falls) and Max Oscarnold (Toy). The duo, along with bandmates Daniel Nellis and Bobby Syme, have returned with a second album which is missing the texture that dominated their debut Wooden Head. What’s left is a reclining and unobtrusive new direction.
From the off, guitar’s peregrinate across the album’s tracks and take the listener on an intimate journey through a jangle-coloured world. On tracks such as Memories and The Frozen Stare honeyed harmonies accompany the gently meandering melodies. Comparisons with The Byrds, Pink Floyd and Real Estate can be made, as a feeling of calm rolls out from each song.
Hoare and Oscarnold both bought pianos ahead of the recording and this plodding influence is apparent on The Devils and 1969. Their music, I Know You Know in particular, is able to slot seamlessly beside what has gone before, a modern relic that is both familiar and fascinating.
For some, the one-paced nature of Foxhole may be too much. If you enjoy extremes then the dappled sunlight permeating the album might leave you cold. For the rest of us, these ten tracks are a delightfully warming way to spend some time.
Verdict: Peaceful and harmonious