Nicola's work with Saul Freeman in Mandalay produced, for me, some of the most magical music I had ever heard. Because of this, one could imagine my shock when I listened to this cd and realised it had actually surpassed the hopes I held for it.
This cd has a way of creeping up on you: the more you listen to it the more you start to enjoy it, until it almost becomes a part of you.
The music on this cd is more sparse than that on Mandalay, with Nicola often only singing over the echoes of some chords on a piano (as in 'Heart'), or indeed over nothing at all (as in 'Morning'), allowing for her extraordinary voice to shine through and making the cd even more haunting. This is perhaps most striking (especially if you have never heard Nicola's voice before) in first song 'You Will Feel Like This' where the build up of the piano and the strings suddendly cuts out to allow the full effect of Nicola's voice to come through. This often sparing use of the backing music also means that when the music does build up into the exuberant layers that we were used to in Mandalay, it hits you with full force: such as in 'I Forgive Me' or the stunning 'Feel'.
Mandalay fans will also be pleased to know that, whilst this cd does significantly distance itself from Mandalay, it does take the best bits of that band along with it, such as the luscious soundscape effects we all know and love.
So basically, if you like Mandalay I can guarantee you this cd will not disappoint.
imagine a vocalist with a voice that sounds like a cross between The Cocteau Twins' Elizabeth Frasier and Portishead's Beth Gibbons singing over music that sounds like a cross between Dido's and Bjork's, and, well... you'd be almost there. Still, you need to hear it for real before you truly know what listening experience you're in for.