Her strange and sophisticated vision propels every song, creating a confident album of exciting music for those who like it weird.
Ever wondered what it would sound like if Bats For Lashes developed a strong lisp, took a whole lot of hallucinogens and found herself in the 14th century? No, you haven't. But on Court Music From The Planet Of Love, Prudence Rees-Lee has given us both a rough approximation of what that might sound like, and a beguiling album of odd and beautiful songs.
On the surface, this album seems to deal in pure dreamy fantasy; the lyrics are full of birds and dragons, gardens and roses, backed by pretty baroque harpsichord that constantly draws the listener into a foreign world. But there's darkness here: you can find it in the dramatic cello of Emmanuel, an album highlight toughened by some strong and creative percussion, and in the tense rolling drums of Beat Without You, where Rees-Lee wonders, “can my heart still beat without you?”
She's a frustratingly evasive figure; her evenly-whispered vocals are often overshadowed by the instrumentals, obscuring her lyrics and her emotions, giving us only small coy phrases about “a bed for endless pleasure” and romantic images like “inside every girl is a heart of a rose”. The exception is excellent closer Morning, a psychedelic, spiritual break-up song where Rees-Lee isn't quite vulnerable, but definitely honest, while behind her an angelic chorus tells her knowingly, “don't be afraid”. This is the only truly sad moment on the album, but also the most beautiful.
As well as singing, Rees-Lee contributes harpsichord, keyboard and cello, and her strange and sophisticated vision propels every song, creating a confident album of exciting music for those who like it weird.
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