swoone Handcuffed Heart (LP, £20.75)
The eagerly awaited debut album from the darkly sophisticated London duo is brimming with quality, depth and heartbreaking beauty. Siobhan Demare, whose sensual and exquisite vocals have been in demand by the likes of guitar legend, Robin Guthrie and 90's chart toppers Mono, finally breaks free to create a breathtaking album of pure class. Here Siobhan is more in control, more expressive and in the finest song writing form of her career. The music is deeply emotional and genuinely felt, not because composer Gary Bruce knows how to write and play this kind of music; indeed, the opposite is true. He has no musical training or knowledge. His keyboard has the notes written on them pencil and he slowly develops guitar chords from scratch! Instead of using musical theory Gary painstakingly creates a musical landscape navigated by feelings alone, producing music that is refreshingly genuine and instantly arresting. Every song is a film in miniature, from a classic thriller, to David Lynch to european cinema. Think Portishead's homage to John Barry with touch of 60's soul and Eno-esque colour. Ideas that have been fermenting for two lifetimes have matured into something sweet and rich. Diverse influences include 90's trip hop, The Carpenters, Billie Holiday, dub, The Ronettes, shoegaze, Nina Simone, Dusty Springfield, Chris Isaac, Donny Hathaway, Al Green and Pink Floyd! Wallow in the sultry vocals, heartfelt words, cavernous guitars, swelling strings and super cool beats.
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