An album called Court Music From The Planet Of Love featuring a song with the title Come All Ye Fair And Tender Maidens should give you a clue as to the type of sounds you’ll hear in Prudence Rees-Lees’ alternative reality. Despite its melody echoing The Bangles’ Eternal Flame, otherworldly opening song The Way leads the listener into a mysterious far-off land, after which you’ll either shrug wearily and shuffle away, or be transfixed and explore onward.
It could easily be one big doe-eyed cliche, but it’s a piece that entices you with its off-kilter feel and eccentric touches. Rees-Lee has a dainty, breathy vocal, but with a lisp that lingers like a rattled tambourine. Shags Chamberlain’s bass snakes around a more static, often hypnotic harpsichord. Tracks that sound like medieval odes fade away and then drop into buzzing, Broadcast-like deviations.
There are some good songs here, but this is primarily a mood piece that successfully conjures up a particular atmosphere and then slowly drags you into the ethereal world it has created. Interestingly, the one song that sits a little apart from the woodwind-adorned ‘Planet of Love’ is also the album highlight. Final track, Morning, is a plaintive, simple ballad that drifts along to sweet backing vocals and strings while a weeping guitar line seeps in to take over from Rees-Lee’s soft, seductive vocal. It marks the end of a highly promising debut.
BY CHRIS GIRDLER
Best Track: Morning
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In A Word: Enchanting