Into the Diamond Sun is the first full-length release from all-girl Liverpudlian three-piece Stealing Sheep. This debut effort features lashing of lo-fi psyche folk, with an intriguing tinge of drone-ridden, olde worlde counterpoint, rhythm and harmonies. The album follows on from their debut EP I am the Rain, released in 2011, along with a growing degree of well-deserved media attention.
This album, like all of Stealing Sheep’s work, is very vocal heavy. Beautifully inter-laced harmonies, fixed in ancient musical modes drift through each track in a way that is hypnotic, ethereal, and at times even haunting. Each individual voice has its own personality and opportunity to shine through, but the collectivism of the trio’s voices, creating complex, otherworldly harmonies, is where the real strength of Stealing Sheep’s music lies. Polyphonic madrigals cross the ears, making Into the Diamond Sun feel ancient, strange, eerie and captivating. Think Au Revoir Simone meets the Medieval Babes and you are perhaps getting some way towards Stealing Sheep’s mysterious vocal style.
Nowhere in the album is this vocal style more evident than in the recent single Shut Eye, which was so famously used in a recent advert for Hollyoaks. The tracks placement in the advert will certainly help the girls on their way to fame and fortune, but it must be said that the advert itself astutely enhanced the qualities of Stealing Sheep’s music. Certainly, this is music well suited to wooded glades, billowing white dresses and fairy lights.
Into the Diamond Sun is not simply about beautiful voices, however. The entire soundscape these ladies create – the collective layers of sound offered throughout this album are both evocative and intriguing. Stealing Sheep have clear musical intentions, using interesting, apt and quirky timbres to create a wistful and intelligent backdrop to the girl’s vocals. Organic and electronic sounds mix to make this album fresh and vibrant; tabers, bodhrans and frame drums create thick rhythms alongside effervescent synths. These girls are clearly very clever, musically intuitive, and instrumentally competent.
Into the Diamond Light offers both accessible and eccentric psyche-folk, which is charismatic, hazy and evocative – the perfect soundtrack to late summer.