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SKOI's friendship with The Durutti Column's guitar-wielding lynchpin Vini Reilly is noticeable from the gently eddying opening bars of The Test Of Time. While Reilly himself isn't present on these recordings, his spirit and influence certainly are - songsmith Paul Hinks casts a crepuscular aura around his songs, most of which are wide-eyed melancholia most befitting a day on a deserted north-western beach or a day in bed with the curtains drawn shut. Its all-too-short running time is blissful stuff. Stars and The Light are gloom-drenched ballads to rival earlier works by Elbow, I am Kloot, Doves et al, but it's the pretty musical interludes that really hit the sweet spot. After just one earful of Maple Leaf, you'll be stopping what you're doing, slumping back in your seat and pressing repeat.
Martin says: Apparently Vini Reilly and The Verve's Nick McCabe are big fans of this new local band. Worth a listen.