Penny Black Music [Es]: "And All the Ships at Sea" [Review]
'And All the Ships at Sea' is the third vinyl release from Bobby Wratten's latest project Lightning in a Twilight Hour, and again it appears on beautiful coloured vinyl, this time in white, while the sleeve and inner sleeve are black, giving it an instant Factory Records-style grace even before a note of the vinyl is even played.
Sarah Records is now back in vogue. It was recently given the 'NME' honour of being the second greatest indie label of all time, just one behind 4AD,, and Bobby was that label's Morrissey He seems to be on something of a roll at the moment which is something of a surprise to me, as a few years ago he told me that he was happy to retire.
It opens with 'The Sky Beyond the Sky' which is like all your greatest memories of happier days wrapped up in one song. Warm vocals from Bobby are assisted by pleasant instrumentation, which is pure old school and doesn't drown the content.
'Black Circles' has shades of New Order but features more crisp guitar lines, while the female vocals of Beth Arzy recall those of his first band, The Field Mice. 'The Sunshine That Breathes Out of This' is a total joy. 'Krzysztof Kieslowski's Lullaby' is doomy and slow with hints of the Sundays doing a comedown version of the Cure during their 'Faith' and 'Pornography' era. The vocals take an age to join in but when they do it's like added instrumentation.
'Notebooks', which opens the second side, is an odd beast of a track, opening and closing like a soundtrack to a horror film. Wratten's vocal is delicate and fragile, while warm acoustic guitar assists.
'Lenticular Clouds (For Roy Montgomery)' again moves in a different direction. Keyboards swim in an ocean while an electric guitar jangles on this gorgeous instrumental.
'My Own Antarctica' is as lonely as the place itself. A howling wind blows before acoustic guitar backs a female vocal that is crystal clear and heart warming.
A fabulous mini-album,
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