The harmonica and carefree mood of "If I Give You a Smile" kicks off the self-titled debut by British trio Whistler. The album's second single, "Don't Jump in Front of My Train," follows on track two. Kerry Shaw's vocals and insightful lyrics are highlighted throughout. Ian Dench, formerly of EMF, serves as Whistler's guitarist, performing sparse arrangements with James Topham's viola. The occasional frantic drum beat adds surprise to the generally hypnotic and gorgeous folk-pop. The jew's-harp at the beginning of "Rare American Shoes" inexplicably serves as percussion to Topham's enchanting viola. The band is at its best when they focus on melodies, like on "Heaven Help Me," where Shaw's vocals are eerily reminiscent of Amelia Fletcher's, of British indie pop acts Heavenly and Marine Research. The simple, gorgeous instrumentation is at its best when the ingredients are simple and uplifting. The disc ends with "Please Don't Love Me Anymore," on which Shaw's pensive vocals lead the way.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Cramer