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(Item no.: 835)
Label: af-music / Danse Macabre
Released: April 30th, 2010

Well he’s done it again, if you don’t mind me shattering any suspense. After last year’s extraordinary ‘Ghost’ (((S))) is back with another mesmerising and weird collection, in that he has several styles but they all seem to fit like a shape-shifting glove. Also, he has a totally instinctive voice, which always helps. He isn’t weary, it’s some kind of irradiated wispiness, as though before recording he is kept pressed between the pages of an enormous book, and then when everyone is ready they heave it open and out he slips.

‘A Crying Shame’ just eases beautifully into the space between your eras and within ten seconds you’re dangling on its little hook, with another spacious yet honed chorus, post-punk and pop dusty dancing rather than anything truly dirty. Catchy, dreamy, but potent. The vocals dominate, but there’s lithe guitar and prominent synth tumbling about and when you find ‘Lonely Is The Lighthouse’ towering over you this is harder hitting still, but politely so. Here the vocals are clipped but ergonomically entreating amid plunking bass, clattery drums and some keyhole guitar surgery. It actually bulges with activity but is clearly very simple, a strikingly direct pop song doused in character and also some subtle lyrical imagery.

I could say I just can’t see the appeal of ‘Invisible Man’ but someone might take me seriously. Here we move into an edgier space, bass sullen, guitar prickly and deep, vocals cunning and suspicious and we get a brisk guitar buffeting towards the close which works beautifully with the craftily rising, breathy chorus. With crosscut guitars jangling and ambling ‘We’re In The Wind’ is instantly calming like a bath in warm vodka, the vocals hesitant but wheezily optimistic, contemplating the end of the world but romance too. That is optimism! A cheerily crumbling song.

‘Autumnhead’ is mental, a Carnaby Street ba-baa-bub-bub-bub-baah throwback, piano thunking away, and ridiculously infectious, which is no doubt the point of catchy things: under your skin, into the subconscious. (What would House say?) It gathers and bustles, pushing towards the finish like astronauts on drugs climbing a narrow staircase, unphased by the disappearance of their rocket. He’s cutting off and throwing his autumn head, that’s the basic message, but surely that then gives way to a wintry head? (I admit I may have been misled by the jollity of the music and missed the point.) The grandly atmospheric ‘Walk’ with its ornate guitar and stark direction switches us back into a moody avenue and the threat of going for a walk with him, forever, which seems impossibly tiring and ill-conceived. Diminutive backing vocals and reflective keyboards start to protrude from the sleek surface as it reaches a strangely inconclusive end.

‘Addicted To My Dreams’ is almost a merging of all we’ve heard, pert post-punk mooching about with a decisive melodic thrust, this time with some taut, trembling tremolo and introspective warbling, controlled by a relaxing but delicious style, with mad touches, like suddenly thickened brief snatches of vocals, and then ‘A Handfull Of Dust’ oozes and shines, compressed but linear and quietly delightful as it is dignified. ‘Tired Hangs The Head’ ticks over nimbly, almost as though he’s declared he’s in with the in-crowd (sealing himself in an iron maiden) as tears apparently hum in his head, and if you look at the album overall this is a mirror image of ‘Lonely Is The Lighthouse’, ringing couplets, supple ringlets flicking and a vivid sense of unease. We exit accompanied by ‘Hole In My Heart’ which is the weakest song here as it’s a little too familiar and busy, some of the vocals a bit twee, but there’s a ghostly apparition in the title track appearing uncredited almost immediately, nourishing with its luscious emptiness.

“I’m deep in the dry spell, welcome to my Hell,” he sings across spidery guitar and subterranean synth, and we should thank him for this invite to an oddly comforting and frequently brilliant album.

Reviewed by Mick Mercer

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Information:
Genre
: darkwave / indie
Tracks
: 1. A Crying Shame (03:04)
2. Lonely Is The Lighthouse (03:28)
3. Invisible Man (04:11)
4. We’re In The Wind (03:38)
5. Autumnhead (03:14)
6. Walk (03:22)
7. Addicted To My Dreams (03:25)
8. A Handful Of Dust (03:33)
9. Tired Hangs The Head (03:22)
10. Hole In My Heart (03:37)
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€ 11,95 € 7,95
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