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Album Reviews Breezy tunes, chilled soundscapes and a great leap forward

IAN SINCLAIR reviews albums by Eleanor Friedberger, Mind Over Mirrors, and Mary Lattimore

Eleanor Friedberger
Rebound
(Frenchkiss Records)
★★★★

SINCE spending the noughties in US indie-rock duo Fiery Furnaces, Eleanor Friedberger has constructed an impressive and critically acclaimed solo career.

Rebound, her fourth long player since 2011, marks a shift from her previous album’s upstate New York singer-songwriter idyll.

Moving to Greece after Donald Trump was elected president, Friedberger discovered the Athens 1980s disco that gives the record its name and inspired its cohesive sound and yearning energy.

Light and breezy, with synthesisers and programmed drums to the fore, the guitars take a back seat on the poppy one-two punch of the singles In Between Stars and Make Me A Song.

And though much has changed, her knack for catchy melodies, understated hooks and Dylanesque lyrical couplets and attitude thankfully remains.

A very cool, consistently brilliant artist with oodles of talent, Friedberger just keeps getting better and better.

Mind Over Mirrors
Bellowing Sun
(Paradise of Bachelors)
★★★★★

A GREAT leap forward from the last Mind Over Mirrors album, Bellowing Sun brings to mind Elvis Costello’s belief that “writing about music is like dancing about architecture.”

Words simply cannot do justice to the otherworldly magnum opus created by US composer and musician Jaime Fennelly.

Originating from a commission by the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, the exhilarating suite is inspired by Henry Beeston’s famous 1928 book chronicling his year spent living alone on Cape Cod observing the natural rhythms and cycles of mother earth.

Largely instrumental, the tracks are built around shifting, intense synths complemented with harmonium, fiddle and drums and rapturous vocals from Freakwater’s Janet Beveridge Bean.

Much like Alice Coltrane’s recently reissued work, plugging into Fennelly’s ambitious, avant-garde vision of the natural world will verge on a religious experience for many, I would wager.

Extraordinary.

Mary Lattimore
Hundreds of Days
(Ghostly International)
★★★★

BASED in Los Angeles, Mary Lattimore is a classically trained harpist who has collaborated with Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore, Sharon Van Etten and Kurt Vile and done a lot of soundtrack work.

Recorded in a barn in the hills above San Francisco, her second album is made up of six instrumental tracks — three come in at over nine minutes long — with organic electronics accompanying her beautiful harp playing.

Opener It Feels Like Floating is a good description of the soundscape she builds, while the piano-accompanied On The Day You Saw the Dead Whale and Hello From the Edge of the Earth, which includes some jagged guitar licks, are other highlights.

A relaxing and engaging listen, Lattimore has created a musical world that some might label “new age” and so it'll surely end up on a curated “chilled” Spotify playlist soon enough.

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