Lightning in a Twilight Hour

Fragments of a Former Moon


I know, I know. One look at the group name and album title will be enough for many people to decide what Robert Wratten's new project sounds like and whether or not they are going to like it. That his music has found a home on Madrid's Elefant label (like, for example, to Bellshill's BMX Bandits) is also emblematic. An LTM label reissue programme proves, however, there are ample folk who want to catch up on his earlier work with Field Mice, Northern Picture Library and Trembling Blue Stars, and many of the cohorts with whom Wratten has been working since the 1980s are present and correct, including bassist Michael Hiscock, and vocalists Anne Mari Barker (nee Davies) and Beth Arzy. Ian Catt, who oversaw all the Trembling Blue Stars recordings, produces.

The set starts well too, with two fine pop songs, The Memory Museum and The Pattern Room, whose slightly pretentious titles do not get in the way of their atmospheric tunes, but it all goes a little one-dimensional at times after that, with Fever Dreams of Emilia a one-tone soundscape and Taking the Figure Out of the Landscape as spare as the title suggests. Fans, however, will doubtless fall upon Bobby Wratten's return with glee.

Keith Bruce