Mixing live cello, curiously processed guitars banjo and twee vocals with soundscape, drum machine beats and a plethora of sound bites, The Books arrive at a smart sound both pretty and relaxed but also experimental and fascinating.
Rare is the sound that escapes the Books hands without effects processing -clips of human speech may find themselves accompanied by singing vocals or rhythmic hits to great effect; on Lost and Safe this technique is at its most dazzling on the close to perfect An Animated Description of Mr. Maps.
While I'm generally of the opinion that most music is made better with the addition of a nice pop singer on top, I find that The Books are at their best when they do without; their instrumental and production prowess doesn't require the vocals, and in fact at times may even feel cluttered by them. The music alone is absolutely beautiful and thoroughly engaging, and the sound clips bring a wonderful human element to the album.
This is very exciting and inspiring music.