Songs We Love: Jealous Of The Birds, 'Goji Berry Sunset'

Mar 9, 2017
Originally published on March 13, 2017 10:22 am

The combination of an acoustic guitar and the human voice can trigger powerful emotions in countless ways, but it's pretty remarkable when they come together in ways that sound novel. "Goji Berry Sunset" — the first single by Naomi Hamilton, a singer from Northern Ireland who goes by the name Jealous Of The Birds — is made from some of the sparest ingredients imaginable; it's just a gently plucked acoustic guitar, a whistled hook and Hamilton's layered vocals. But those simple sounds dig deep.

Between the whistling and the sing-songy back-and-forth of the verses, "Goji Berry Sunset" might at first seem like little more than an efficient earworm delivery system, as Hamilton dispenses compact couplets ("Quote a line from Tennyson / Poetry is medicine") that roll by at a brisk but soothing pace. Then, when she arrives at her chorus — "Your name, it fizzes on my tongue / Damn that name" — her voice suddenly unfurls in rich, lush layers.

The first single from Jealous Of The Birds' debut full-length, last year's Parma Violets, "Goji Berry Sunset" represents just one facet of Hamilton's approach: Elsewhere, her soft bedroom folk can make way for rawer and more aggressive sounds. But in these two deceptively simple minutes, she constructs an intimate space that's instantly, indelibly compelling.

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