Virginia Wing: Ecstatic Arrow (Fire/Southbound)

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Pale Burnt Lake
Virginia Wing: Ecstatic Arrow (Fire/Southbound)

The previous album by this London duo out of Manchester was an often uneasy amalgam of emotionally cool pop, hard-edged electro-beats and an art school kind of 21st century synth-pop.

This time out they look back (to the early Eighties for Glorious Idea and further on the folksy core of Eight Hours Don't Make a Day), sideways (the sax-coloured pop of the immediately appealing The Second Shift and the speak-sing For Every Window There is a Curtain, the vague exoticism of Relativity) and into other areas beyond pop like the minimalists or German electronica vanguard (behind the Gothic gloom-pop of Relativity).

As before there are suggestions of Eno's early solo albums here but singer Alice Merida Richards also brings her dispassionate style to feminist/humanist lyrics which have something to say (The Second Shift, The Female Genius, the post-punk art music approach on A Sister).

Pale Burnt Lake is outstanding, it's about (among other things) ennui in the face of the quick fixes but not exactly despairing . . .

This is a more approachable and coherent collection than its predecessor so now is the time to tune in.

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