Established in early 2016, Outside I’m a Giant has made their mark on both sides of the river. After a year of playing gigs and honing their sound, this Hull-based folk trio has released their debut album, Point Comfort, a triumph of modern balladeering. Texture and timbre are highly impressionistic, leaving traces on its listeners. The album is a record of moments gone astray, recaptured just long enough to linger through song.
Brimming with ambient musical intermissions, Point Comfort evokes the mythology of folk while teetering on the division between the ephemeral and the enduring. Despite being an ensemble of only three–Jérémi Pierre Caron (vocals, guitar), Samuelle Desjardins (violin), and Pascal Desgagné (pedal steel, mandolin)–Outside I’m a Giant’s songs are richly layered and make sophisticated use of all their resources. The album is warm and affectionate as it embraces the listener; even with its moments of bitterness and bereavement, the music draws you back in with more conviction, like a good album should.
The opening track, “Fishing with Jim”, features an ambient intro by Thean Slabbert aka VELODRONES, and sets the tone for the rest of the album. Caron’s voice rolls like thunder in its lower register and soars in the higher, demonstrating that his voice isn’t one of ethereal perfection, but rather one that’s lived a life. Meanwhile, the reverberating guitar sounds so close that it nearly envelops you, accompanied by pedal steel and violin that serve as the constant, abiding foundation for the song–and, indeed, the whole album.
Caron’s vocal and guitar work serve as the constant spinning wheel throughout Point Comfort, made lush and full by Desjardins’ violin work and Desgagné’s pedal steel. One of its hallmarks is the space given to instrumental conversations that lend another dimension to the core songwriting. This is evident in “Claire”, which kicks off with engaging balladry before launching into beautiful counterpoint between mandolin and violin, and finishing with a meditative outro.
“Wrong Turns” lands at the intersection of Leonard Cohen-esque sentiment and Tom Waits-ian ballad. At the outset, the character is entirely different, as if the listener has indeed arrived there by accident. However, it eventually veers back into the realm of comfort and warmth characterized by the rest of the album, but with newfound exotic flourishes and tone painting. “Wrong Turns” highlights the imagination and mythos of which the folk genre is capable.
Although the band had their album release Saturday, October 7 at the Blacksheep Inn in Wakefield, they will be playing again this weekend at La Nouvelle Scène Gilles Desjardins at 333 King Edward Ave. They will have a short 30-minute set, which will be followed by other great billingual/francophone artists including Laurence Nerbonne, FET.NAT, and Mehdi Cayenne. Check out Outside I’m a Giant’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to get their latest updates and news about upcoming shows. Stream and purchase their new album, Point Comfort, on their Bandcamp page.