Review roundup - The best new art rock releases
Chris Roberts rounds up the latest art rock releases from Philip Kane, Fiona Brice, Daphne Guiness, Marissa Nadler, Holgar Czukay and more.
The first album in a decade from the enigmatic Philip Kane is epic in scope and driven by hope.
Flowers And Ledges (Corrupt) is a grandstanding gallery of literate, heartfelt testifying, moving from reverie-rock balladry all the way to cosmic soul. As the title track broods like an outtake from David Sylvian’s Gone To Earth, Kane’s stunning voice sighs ‘You’ve got chocolate around your mouth’ like he’s had an epiphany and makes the idea of “hundreds and thousands” chime with Proustian resonance. Exquisite musicianship ebbs and flows as he shifts from Leonard Cohen to Curtis Mayfield, advocating education and resilience while wishing someone a ‘fucking awful Christmas’. Mark Eitzel and Suzanne Barbieri contribute backing vocals on a grand folly that’s simply drenched in wisdom.
Fiona Brice has provided orchestral arrangements and played violin and piano for everybody from John Grant and Roy Harper to Placebo and Vashti Bunyan. Her intriguing solo debut Postcards From… (Bella Union) arrives with a much-stamped passport, its 10 minimalist instrumentals bearing place-name titles: Berlin, Glastonbury, Dallas, Tokyo. A mostly hushed, haunted record suggests the accumulative angst of Arvo Pärt or Górecki, yet there’s serenity in the psycho-geography. St Petersburg is perfect for sullenly imagining you’re Tolstoy’s Prince Andrei.