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sublime agony & beauty - the album of 2013
on 1 September 2013
The great 4AD records have stumbled upon yet another winning act building on traditions from Dead Can Dance through to Blonde Redhead (the latter being the most underrated act in the planet). Is there a genius in the company chair there? The album seems like one long hypnotic 45 minute number about love & love lost & so little point to describe each track but I'd like to try :o). Opens with 'Winter' which sets the weather for both beauty & desolation. Then 'Smother' and hey they were brave enough to release this as a 7" single. Sounding like XX (or is it XX sounding like Daughter) as Elena Tonra pours her heart out "I want him but we are not right" deep brilliant lyrics & quite spellbinding "all my children can become me" "what a mess I leave to follow" and builds into a climax ;o) 'Youth' could be the best here "'cause most of us are heaving through corrupted lungs" "the lovers that went wrong" with emotion in overload "and you caused it" plus great the way the drums burst into life with powerful beat flourishes. 'Still' is another dramatic ethereal piece...this is not dance music but music that needs to be listened to. 'Lifeforms' spurred on by the guitar arpeggios & haunting vocals is another emotional tour de force "or find the children lost at sea" "you'll always find another womb to grow". Sublime. 'Tomorrow' more desolation via some heavier guitar "don't bring tomorrow because I already know I'll lose you". 'Human' is the most upbeat, energetic & danceable and adds a nice change. 'Touch' with each listen new shades appear - amazing & grabs you & pulls you in "can feel something". 'Amsterdam' is totally mesmerizing. Finally track 'Shallows' is where the title comes from "if you leave, when I go, you'll find me in the shallows" as it slowly builds into a climax with the drums ricocheting, reverb guitars & vocals all seemingly at different rhythms, but it all falls together perfectly & is more emotional overload. Elena's voice really seems as if she's living the agony (understated, honest, humble & pure). The slight fault is that it is not a particularly fun & uplifting ride but nevertheless somehow meshes into a beautiful soundscape which you can place onto repeat as each listen reveals more magic. Yes this album is sublime & the album of 2013.