16 years later, and Shelleyan Orphan have had time to reflect and cherry-pick their tracks for the new album. Apart from the quality of songs (consistently better and more diverse than Humroot or the Babacar project), this shows in the careful running order selection, so there is a balance and contrast between moods and tempo of the songs. Listeners will welcome the familiar female/male vocal dynamic, plus the spot-on orchestration and deployment of unusual instrumentation (they clearly had a lot of fun with this). All in all, a confident and colourful return. It holds together as an album, with standout tracks being opener 'Body Sighs', 'How a Seed is Sown', 'Something Pulled Me', 'Judas', 'Evolute' and the XTC-like 'I'm Glad You Didn't Jump Out of the Car That Day'.
At their best, this band have a rare beauty to them. This will do nicely, but let's hope they've got another album in them, yet. And to think people used to say "Pre-Raphaelite", like it was something bad. Ignore the nay-sayers - welcome back Caroline and Jem!