On some songs, this I-contain-multitudes approach is a great way to communicate joy. (The song "I Go Swimming," a slow-release celebration of a summer day, is what the Polyphonic Spree could sound like if they'd just calm down for five minutes.) But I find myself drawn to Restall's more melancholy work, like "The Sea Shall Not Have Them," from the 2009 album At Play in Borley Rectory. I can't really understand what Restall is singing here, for the most part--the lyrics seem to name a bunch of landmasses in the British Isles--but the song carries a loneliness that's unmistakable. Restall adds vocal tracks here in a way that reminds me of a snowfall: it starts out light and invigorating, but doesn't take long to pile up to the point of overwhelm.
This article available online at: