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Snowbird: Moon (Bella Union)




(Bella Union)

As a curator, Bella Union boss Simon Raymonde has become one of the UK's most consistent, acting as midwife for a plethora of lustrous recordings by such acts as John Grant and I Break Horses. As a creator, however, the past 17 years have been barren, outwardly at least, since he and his fellow Cocteau Twins hung up their hats. Melodically and orchestrally alluring as this piano-heavy collaboration between Raymonde and US singer Stephanie Dosen is, there is no escaping the long shadow cast by Raymonde's previous cohorts, both in songwriting terms - though this piece is leavened with sporadic Americana inflections - and Dosen's vocals, whose whorling figures and harmonies are redolent of Liz Fraser. Odder still is the fact Raymonde and Dosen worked on Moon separately, but the association taints what might otherwise be the prettiest record of 2014 so far, gilded by turns from Raymonde's alt-rock buddies, including members of Radiohead and Midlake. Curation and creation are distinct pursuits, then, as this bonnie but baffling long-player illustrates. Choose your weapon, Mr Raymonde.

Sean Guthrie

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Arts and Entertainment

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