Helena Costas is the star of this album. She has quite a thin voice but what it lacks in 'oomph' is made up for with a quirky, wispy performance quality that has elements of Björk, and an accent that seems to wander across Europe while she sings and which occasionally sounds like Kirsty Hawkshaw.
Danger Mouse takes a bit of a production back seat on this one. Don't expect Gnarls Barkley or Gorillaz beats (with the slight exceptions of "Under The Influence Of Jaffa Cakes" and "The Bull Bites Back"). The twists Danger Mouse brings can mainly be heard in the atmospheres, strings and electronic noises that make some tracks a lovely sonic wash. Tracks like "The Last Laugh" are heavily layered and rich, while others like "Cake And July" leave the simpler acoustic female-singer-songwriter tune in the foreground.
In Gnarls Barkley fashion it's not a long album- 14 tracks last just under 41 minutes.
You'll have to be fond of that female-singer-songwriter format to enjoy this album- it ain't hip-hop. But if you are happy with that and you want a fun little album, this is a great one to pick up.
If you would find silly lyrics like "I'm still waiting for my yellow teapot and my flying carpet, and the little people living with the old lady in her giant shoe" a bit embarrassing, you might want to steer clear though.
on 5 May 2009
This is a very special listen. Imagine the kind of unreleased femme folk masterpieces people like Andy Votel uncover - only produced by Dangermouse.
But don't expect Gorrilaz style jeeps and beats. This a very succesful marriage of strings, space and a siren's voice. The siren is called Helen Costas and she sounds world weary and naiive at the same time. "Jessie The Goat" sounds like its sung in Northumbrian or Cornish or something. There are hints of Francois Hardy, Vasshti Bunyan and Beth Orton. But equally there are the same modern kind of brush strokes that Radiohead put on In Rainbows. This will be the sound of the summer if we have one. Perfect for the drive down to Green Man or Bestival.