[sic] Magazine

One Little Atlas – Wayfarer

After a patient run of spectacular EPs and singles, Mancunian two-piece One Little Atlas (OLA/O>L>A) return with their debut album proper, Wayfarer, a sumptuous compositional collection that’s a real step-up in both scope and scale. Take lead track “Llyn”, a collaboration with the Up North Orchestra, Dean Jones’ tasteful electronics blended with a majestic string arrangement and Kevan Hardman’s ethereal vocal. It’s an open, outdoorsy and optimistic tonic in trying times, blossoming like time-lapse photography.

Choral harmonies swell the rafters throughout, simmering percussion and a gentle guitar palette leading to serene, sun-dappled synths and atmospheric sweeps of pretty patterning. The rousing 2022 single “Devotion” and its strong melodies land in the lush, organic territory of Grizzly Bear/Daniel Rossen, its devastating violin, viola and chimes having an early morning, Eastern quality: mist amongst the trees, a lone crane standing one-legged in the water. A deeply personal paean, the looped and layered “Of Love” features contribution from Hardman’s family interwoven with his virtuoso vocal that ranges from stunning operatic highs to dark, low registers.

Appealing to both the heart and the head, the dreamy ambience of the title-track is set against the philosophical spoken word of Alan Watts, the peaceful lapping of the shoreline dropping out into drifting, New Age flute on “Holo”, everything coming together on the epic “Ceremony”, which fizzes at the peaks of post-rock. Wayfarer is skilfully done top to bottom, a huge and luxurious achievement deserving of an equally huge audience.

~Wayfarer is released November 10th 2023. Cassette copies with download available via Ramber Records. OLA play live for free November 10th at the Carlton Club in Whalley Range, Manchester.~