The Cartographer is the tender debut album from brothers Mickey and Joey Donnelly from York. They have only been Epilogues for around a year and the emotive and delicate instrumentation at work is even more impressive when you consider their ages, Mickey in his second year of University and Joey yet to finish school.
The album starts with ‘Eos’ a lullaby of a track that sets the standard for the dreamy harmonies and carefully crafted guitar parts that engulf the record.
‘Atlas, At Last’ the most affecting track, with soft and melancholic vocals against a simple piano part are simply divine. Its simplicity allows the listener to be immersed in the emotive and delicately layered harmonies that build towards the end of the song to create a warm, blissful track. The song sounds like it belongs in a dream sequence of a fairytale film as it has an ethereal quality.
Another stand out track is the sweet ‘Persephone’, only a short track but full of beautiful harmonies and sweetness. For the last track John Donnelly adds his vocals to ‘the Cartographer’ and it’s tenderness works well with the downcast tempo and lyrical play.
The whole album is unadulterated and natural sounding with a great balance between instrumentation and vocal harmonies. It’s brave to let songs stand this bare but they have managed to keep them interesting and full of depth. The lyrics are thoughtful and articulate with a poetic quality that sits beautifully next to the graceful piano melodies.
There’s maturity in the songs that surprises and excites, if this is the debut album from the boys then their future must hold something special.