Until a couple of weeks ago my knowledge of Estonian music extended to just a few of the wondrous works of Arvo Pärt and the odd track by Norman Blake-produced guitar swirlers Pia Fraus. Thanks to Shelflife Records, however, I now know and love a little of the work of a third Estonian musical act: Picnic. On their new 7" they bravely remould a couple of very familiar songs into their own image. Roger Nichols and Paul Williams' "We've Only Just Begun" starts off hazily before the "Isn't Anything" era guitars whip it into soft peaks. In terms of purity, Marju Taukar's voice sits towards the hallowed Trish Keenan / Mary Perrin end of the spectrum of great female voices. So lovely.
On the flip, their version of Burt Bacharach and Hal David's "Say A Little Prayer" is relocated to a place where sunny day strums meet whooshes of jet age electric guitar and little percussive taps vie with bolder beats for space. Again, Taukar's vocal is central; more urgent and wider-eyed this time. What a fantastic single. Time to find their debut album, I reckon.