For a few years now, the Paper Kites have been flying their atmospheric indie folk sound from their home country of Australia to the rest of the world. Their debut studio album States showcases their take on folk with a well-paced track listing, playing with dynamics and a strong blend of male and female vocals.

The band started as a project of primary vocalist/songwriter Sam Bentley and his high school friend Christina Lacy. Bentley’s voice is well-suited to the music rooted in his finger-picked guitar and fleshed out with banjos, keys, brass, lap steel and backing vocals provided by his bandmates. Christina Lacy plays several instruments and takes lead vocals on three tracks (“Living Color,” “Cold Kind Hand,” “In Reverie”), and her and Bentley share lead vocals on the seven-minute-plus album closer “I Done You So Wrong.” The instrumentation is at times lush and full, but the strongest moments are when the musicians kick back a bit and play less, giving the songwriting a chance to soar.

States is a perfect winter companion and a promising debut album from these endearing Aussies. The Kites are a relatively new band that seem to have the wind at their backs, and are surely destined to be embraced everywhere and anywhere they land.

By Dylan S. Keating

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