Once A Day

Nick West's reviews for Bucketfull Of Brains and Rock'N'Reel

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Location: London, United Kingdom

Co-editor and publisher of Bucketfull Of Brains since 1996.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007




If there’s one label in the UK that’s definitely thriving it’s Bella Union. Not only does it have an established roster with folk like The Dears, The Dirty Three and Midlake, it also has the priceless ability to keep on turning up new and interesting talents. Thus far this year, its tenth anniversary, it has given us those chiming Scandinavians The Kissaway Trail, and now it brings Stephanie Dosen.

In Dosen they have an artiste who contrives to tick two much-coveted boxes. With a lush, layered sound and her ethereal, though not fey, voice she harks back to the prime, now two decades ago, of The Cocteau Twins; or, as has already shrewdly been noted, to The Sundays; and she will also be garlanded by the tastemakers of the new psych-folk milieu.

A Lily For The Spectre is a beautiful album, of that there’s no question. Dosen’s voice is reminiscent of Elizabeth Fraser and Harriet Wheeler, along with a few others. The harp-like guitars, the swirling strings, and the multi-voices create entrancing atmospheres as the songs flutter in and out of meaning, always suggestive of a rustic ambience.

Yet with the exception of the truly impressive ‘Lakes Of Canada’ individual songs don’t quite stick. There’s a bit more grit required, which is apparent briefly in ‘Only Getting Better’ where she begins to sound like Laura Cantrell. That said this is a more than pleasing introduction, and it’s certainly worthy of investigation.


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