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Indeed, this British quintet brings a qualitative aspect to the rock world, sans any filler material amid gestures to the 70s array of space-rockers, along with current art-rock persuasions and impressions of vintage Brian Eno's spectral electronics-based dreamscapes. Moreover, Maria Charles' beatific vocals, supported by solid undertones, enhance the band's mesmeric grooves, tinted with hypnotic etudes and an air of innocence. But several works cast lucid imagery of forbidden zones and cautionary implications, in addition to nouveau psychedelic riffs and ostinato-framed keys. Ultimately, the artists' harmonically attractive song-forms spawn an emotional connection via a magnetic group-centric aura.
The band's second album is a melodic wonderland, especially on works such as "Circles in Halftone," featuring phased and psyched out connotations in unison with guitarist James McKeown's extended note, wah-wah licks. On "Curious Yellow," the musicians generate a sense of intrigue within a straight-four motif that is overlaid with choir-like pop vocals, echoing keys and a hummable melody line. The good news continues during "Fragmenting Song," where the frontline intertwines ambient electronics with Charles' animated lyricism, sketched on yet another memorably melodic hook. They translucently expand the proceedings into an upgrade of a 60s style pop tune, spiced with synth effects, and broadened by Matt Rich's heavy organ and Charles' chanting vocals atop a thriving rhythmic gait. Hence, the quintet even transforms conventional notions of all things Indie-Rock into a modern uplift. It's easy to deduce that great care and an unrelenting focus was enacted for this production. Curiously interesting, yet decidedly entertaining...
Track Listing: Digitalis; Circles In Halftone; Magpies (Against the Sun); Vapour; Curious Yellow; Komorebi; 1000 Years; Fragmenting Sons; Squaretaker.
Personnel: Maria Charles: vocals, guitar; Jeff Green: bass; James McKeown: guitar; Matt Rich: keyboards; Aidan Searle: drums and percussion.
Years ago now--in Rhodesia--listening to Voice of America with Willis Conover I heard Bunk Johnson play When The Saints Go Marching In, and Billie Holiday sing Don't Explain. I knew then there was no other life for me than jazz.