"Hands to Hold" is a stunning lead record; equal parts sepia-tinted nostalgia and hissing, creaking urgency with not a single thump mistimed. Hollowed-out sticks and rustling dry leaves do the job of synths and shakers on a record that glows with sentiment. "To Close for Comfort" similarly captures a heavy sense of loss or regret, but never loses sight of the emerging dawn light at the end of the mossy tunnel.
Even when the lyrics are absent—as with the percussion-heavy "Val"—the sense of something living and breathing close by is maintained. Pulsing like an underwater heartbeat and surrounded by waifish calls, the throbbing bass that lies at the core of the record is perfect, and more than atones for the lack of vocal company. The lyrics return for the first of the digital exclusives—a collaboration between Bob Moses and label owner Harris—which develops around a beautifully simple, evolving piano line that eventually takes complete control of the piece. Last (and in this case, least) is Frank and Tony's strangely unadventurous remix of "Close to Comfort," but even this mildly baffling inclusion fails to diminish the emotive punch of this affecting debut.