This is a fantastic album, a song-cycle comprimised of only 5 songs, but running in at about an hour.
I'm reluctant to even try to describe this album. I think the best example to use is what generally happens after you've listened to it - little melodies, a line perhaps, tend to stick in the mind and won't be uprooted until you've found a quiet place to stick the record on.
I say a quiet place, because the obvious flaw of the album (is it really a flaw though, or is it a sad indictment about music today?), is that it demands your full attention. There are narratives hidden within the songs that overlap with others. There are garnishes of wonderful orchestral backing, but on 'Sawdusts and Diamonds' Newsom's Harp is the only other instrument, save her curious and captivating voice. 'Only Skin' is the album's longest track, a wistful blend of key changes and bizarre instrumentation. Newsom's lyrics are often fragmentary and loose, but suit her style well. Part of the fun seems to be that meanings are difficult to come by, but you will always leave this album feeling more fufilled and just a little bit wiser than you did the last time you listened to it.