I came across this album via the first single "Laura" which I stumbled upon flicking through the ITunes store. Her previous work did not strike a chord with me. Not necessarily a reflection of her music but more my musical tastes. However this single was beautiful and very intriguing, but I still remained cautious about purchasing a full album -watching her ITunes Festival performance did not help, which I found characterless and dull.
The album thankfully works very well as a studio collection and is full of very subtle textures and melodies which interlope with Natasha's "haunting" and emotive vocals and lyrics. Any comparisons to other artists is lazy "journalism" and too many female artists get lumped in the Kate Bush/Bjork tag, which does not always do them justice, but to my mind, think of some of the more softer textured moment of Peter Gabriel's early eighties work, pre-dating So, with similar textures, instrumentation, but with a more contemporary, modern beat.
I must admit depending on my mood, my opinion of her voice shifts from that of one of vulnerable beauty to being rather ordinary but it works well within the material. This is a very cohesive set of songs, and an album where the material and artwork work complement each other very well. If taken as a whole this is a very complete work of art.
A measure of a great album for me is, is it an album I will be still listening to in 5, 10, 20 years' time?. Not sure about this one yet, but strangely can't stop returning to it.
** I initially gave this album a 4 star review but having lived with it for a few months, this is definitley a 5 star album and one that I will continue to pull out of my collection and listen to for many years.
*** As someone who continues to buy CD's am I the only person getting a tad cheesed off by the "Album Only" bonus tracks (i.e can't purchase seperatley) that keep appearing on ITunes?. This album has two bonus songs Lumen and Daphne, which only appear on that download version. Am I actually being penalised for my choice of format?? Artists and record companies need to sort it out.