After the melancholy art-folk of 2011's conceptual masterpiece I Cannot Sing You Here But For Songs Of Where, Shetland-born, Cornwall-based Johny Lamb ups the ante again with an early contender for album of the year.
Presenting himself for the fourth time under his Thirty Pounds Of Bone banner, and playing every instrument on these texturally dense songs, Lamb finds himself in a ballpark where Turning Plates, Elbow and The Decemberists cover each base, adding slightly psychedelic colours to vocals that waver between prog and folk. Accordion drones and Salvation Army brass combine for unexpected chamber pop arrangements, even as Lamb's distorted shoegaze guitar brings a razor edge to velvet harmonies and keeps the most heavenly melodies rooted in rock. By enriching his compositional palette, he also broadens his popular appeal: the music here is as accessible as it is cleverly constructed, sometimes reaching for those sonic bursts of sunshine that, like Spiritualized and The Flaming Lips at their most glorious, genuinely make your scalp tingle.
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