Incredibly rich, gorgeous soundscapes from this English band whose 2010 album "Hidden" made waves with its percussive intensity and attention to detail. Although this latest album dials back the immediacy, it makes up for it by providing an absolutely immersive listening experience. Far and away my favorite album of 2013 (yeah, it was technically released last year in England but things take awhile to float over to this side of the pond…thank god this one did).
Others: Talk Talk, Julia Holter, Liars, Mount Eerie
Favorites: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. No FCCs.
1. (3:03) ** Distant female vox accompanied by minimal piano and woodwinds. Beautiful opening track.
2. (4:34) ***** Entrancing piano paired with endearingly unprofessional male vocals. Sublime drums make their way in around 1:45. This track couldn't be more perfect.
3. (6:03) *** Dour tone. Underlying tension progressively builds. Both male and female vox. Bass thuds suddenly burst into explosive drum fills.
4. (9:16) **** Piano, male vox, and backing choir. Builds up to the main melody, falls short, then transitions into the core of the song. Phenomenal drumming. An epic journey of a track. Last 4-5 minutes is a gradual denouement.
5. (6:04) *** Deep, dark atmosphere with gorgeous choir. Female, male, and children choir vox. Becomes progressively more uplifting. Gorgeous.
6. (5:32) **** Mesmerizing keyboard melody. Hawk call sample. Male vox and light cymbal hits introduced. Lush instrumentation. I wish this track were 3 times as long.
7. (7:49) * Lonesome horns. Nice interplay between Male and female vocals. Really detailed, emotional orchestration.
8. (4:15) Fragile, solitary female vox. Multi-segmented structure. Similar in tone to previous track.
9. (6:29) ** Choir anchored by allegedly the deepest voice in Britain. Male vocal phonetic mumbling. I don't know how such ornate music can feel so intensely personal but this album certainly proves me wrong.