The early 70s genre "sensitive singer-songwriter" was enjoyed by similarly attuned souls or ridiculed by those for whom moping around just seemed weak and pointless.

The genre is back in other hands, as an offshoot of alt.folk, and we couldn't count the number of duos - like Australians Zoe Randell and Steve Hassett who are Luluc - exploring that acoustic guitar, wintery mood in spare songs of pale melancholy.

This pair met in Scotland, made important fans (Nick Drake's producer Joe Boyd and Sub Pop's Jonathan Poneman) after their 2008 debut Dear Hamlyn (written after the death of Randell's dad) and now have the National's guitarist Aaron Dessner as co-producer on this gentle collection replete with images of snow, bare trees, wounded animals, setting suns and so on.

As you might guess this is pastel-sounding, which makes Reverie on Norfolk Street ("I never dreamed I'd let you go") sound almost sprightly despite it barely getting past walking pace. Randell's voice is central (as is the first-person singular) and it's a thing of subtle beauty conveying the thoughtful words.


But overall this works a narrow range and less sensitive, or happier, types will be easily distracted.


Soft folk for winter days alone by the National's recent opening act

- TimeOut