Getting It Right,
This review is from: Century Flower (Audio CD)
An evolutionary leap on from their first album, 'Helleborine'. Eschewing the over-reliance on string arrangements and impenetrable lyrics (beautiful as it was, one album was enough), the band developed a more varied pallette with this offering, which probably helped them them pick up the support slot on The Cure's world tour. This album is far more accessible, balancing textures and themes on several levels:
The love of unusual instrumentation is still there, but more confidently deployed, without overly dominating the vocals. The use of drums give the tracks a backbeat that suits the songs in their rockier context here (whereas there were little or no drums on Helleborine). Everything comes together!
Vocal harmonising is terrific throughout, as evidenced by a jazzy 'Summer Flies' (a breezy take on Van Morrison's Astral Weeks?), folk/gospel style on 'A Few Small Hours' and the delicate title track itself.
The rockier tracks contrasting with slower fare - compare the pace of 'Shatter', 'Timeblind', 'The Silent Day' and (their most commercial track ) 'Between Two Waves' with 'Tar Baby', 'Self', 'Century Flower' and the ponderous 'Amanita Muscara'.
A high watermark second album and one they weren't to match until late 2008's 'We Have Everything We Need'.