Spare a thought for Meadowlark. In a fair and just world, the duo of Kate McGill and Dan Broadley would be ruling the airwaves ahead of Oh Wonder; their winning blend of electronic pop has always been one step ahead of their peers, but as we all know mediocrity sells slightly better than class on most days of the week.
That shouldn’t put Meadowlark off though, because their debut album Postcards is a body of work they should be proud of. We’ve known from their previous work that they’re not shy of cranking up the cerebral side (Quicksand was a song about people trafficking in Pakistan), so it’s wholly refreshing to see the band continue to marry such strong writing with arrangements that suit them rather well.
It helps that McGill has the sort of tone that warms without even trying, the sort of voice that lifts the already-great structures of Headlights and Sunlight into bright pop torches that could light up a huge audience. Their structures are relatively simple (Pink Heart) but therein lies a lot of the beauty: in a world where everyone’s twiddling all the knobs they can find to get ahead – literally and figuratively – Meadowlark take a more traditional, uncluttered and unhurried approach and it does pay off for them.
Of course, one thing they do share in common with Oh Wonder is the fact that, unfortunately, most of us have heard half of this album before. While it doesn’t detract from songs like Eyes Wide and Satellite (which still fit in wonderfully in the context of the album), there’s a sense that we want to hear even more new work from Meadowlark. That’s ultimately a compliment to them though – they’ve already proven that they have what it takes to stay, and there’s no doubt new fans will enjoy these Postcards as a victory for sincerity.