EP: The Soft Estate – The Painted Ship review

by Philip Moss

Quirky explorations make The Painted Ship an EP to absorb yourself in

The collaged daubing of finger paints and jagged Crayola lines that make up Laurence Briat’s cover for The Painted Ship EP’s is perhaps the best insight into the collective’s world. On a constantly moving continuum, shifting somewhere between Cate Le Bon and Brian Eno, The Soft Estate’s quirky songwriting is a curious listen – and one that never stops the ear second guessing itself.

Part songs, part soundscapes, part noise experiments – no two pieces are the same. Astrud Leaves exists as fast as it enters – its blips and beeps are counterpointed by an addictive melody where feel is everything and the words feel non-important. An otherworldly drum machine holds down the drones, and ironically more overt pop structure of Cindy. While the title track, The Painted Ship, rides an analogue sea of looping, lapping electronica and French spoken word.

Pulled together across two former warring counties during lockdown, Lancashire and Yorkshire may not always play nicely, but on The Soft Estate’s new EP, they meet in a beautiful, ethereal twilight zone.

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