Lists | Autumn
Alistair Milesi, a youthful artist from Edinburgh, Scotland, who goes by the moniker Lists, sent me a link to his debut upload. It’s a single entitled “Autumn”. It’s a beautiful beginning, and when you listen to the song you too will hear all the wonderful promise. The gently repeated guitar strumming and early vocals sounds a bit like Paul Simon mixed with a touch of Belle and Sebastian. That’s pretty enough, but something even more interesting happens as the song builds. The folk style and soft vocals build into gorgeous keyboard and stunning high falsetto that I at first thought was Justin Vernon (circa 2007’s “For Emma, Forever Ago”) or Ry Cuming (aka RY X) or some sample. It’s not simply the higher register that impresses, it’s what Lists does with it. The songwriting is as elegant as the instrumentation, rejecting the need for end-rhymes, while heading into insular poetics and feelings with a veteran’s confidence: “It will be autumn soon / So let’s just try to see the summer through / And there will always be another time, to say the things I should have said to you / I said to you.” The lyrics show vulnerability. Lists says he’s hoping to “have a steady stream of music come out over the next few months”, so there’s much to look forward to. Despite hearing influences and similarities to other artists, Lists’ sound is still distinctive and decidedly his own. There’s a cool ingenuity in the arrangement, keeping pace with the dextrously played acoustic, layered with two vocal styles, a couple of stop-starts, steady percussion and a tiny bell sound all fuse into romantic strings. This is a gorgeous start, especially for someone taking their first step toward making their private creations public. Follow Lists on facebook. — David D. Robbins Jr.