When I first listened to this the other day, it was whilst I was on the tube and looking back that was a mistake. The intimate yet bombastic tones do not come out well when you are sardined in a loud click-clacking train for 40 minutes. So, I had a low opinion of this set immediately afterwards.
However, on its second play in the tranquility of my humble home I have changed my mind. This is a BIG album with lush arrangements: Mexican horns, Argentinian accordians, a celeste (I think) and cellos all appear across this album. It's like a 70s Phil Spector (think Try Some, Buy Some) meets Sparklehorse and Mercury Rev down in a small world music club near you. And just when that sounds atmospheric, they then cover Underworld's club anthem 'Born Slippy' in the same manner.
However, that's the arrangement and production but what about the songs I hear you say? It's a very old Gothic set of songs - lot of references in the lyrics to nature in the sense of hunting, the seaside, forests, fire. This contrasts the modernity of 'Born Slippy', 'Tick Tack...' and 'People Magazine Front Cover'. Perhaps that's why the prelude is a sweet soothing lullabied preview of what to expect and the coda starts with an silly answer machine message telling us to wake up. I'll leave that for others to work out these contrasts and what they mean but I liked the mix of both!
For me, this was a surprising luxurious treat. Too many goodies on offer to pick out one so I'll just mention 'Endless Dream', 'Witches..' and 'If This Hat Is Missing..' as the three best tracks of a brilliant set and recommend that you seek this one out. Especially, if you love BIG sounds!