You become conditioned to expect certain things from certain labels, and PROJEKT seem to deliver what they promise - beautiful, ethereal music which envelopes the mind in a mellow fog & lifts the soul to heights of velvet pleasure. This album, the debut by recent signing LOVE SPIRALS DOWNWARDS falls within this category, yet, with ATTRITION's compilation contributions aside, this must be the most widely commercial music I have yet heard from the label. If you have read any other review & they don't mention the COCTEAU TWINS, then they surely must never have heard LIZ / ROBIN's music. They use compositions, instruments & sounds which are intimately close to the 'TWINS', and the vocal harmonies & overall mix (and the fact that you'd strain your ears to the point of pain to make sense of more than a handful of lyrics) layer the icing on the top. Having said which, they are not a 'Poor Cousin' or in any way less wonderful than the COCTEAUs - indeed they diversify at points which might have done their mentors a favour. The vocalist, an angelic voiced young lady called SUZANNE PERRY, knows her limits & refuses to exceed them, whereas I feel LIZ pushed herself a little too far on some of "Blue Bell Knoll"; and they keep the music on an even keel, not favouring quirky oddities like "Donimo" or "Rococo". I feel on evidence of this record that they are an album group - there's no hint of a "Pearly Dew Drops" or "Aikea-Guinea", and none of the harsh, manic post-Punk machine trance drive of the earlier works. Instead they create an album of incredible mood & depth which absorbs & seduces the listener, yet keeps enough sharp structure (drums, jangling acoustic or untreated electric guitars) to hold the attention.
"Illusory Me" builds up on plucked acoustic-sounding guitar into a cloud-drifting beautiful thing which gently scratches the sensitive areas connected between ears & neck hairs, caressing gently with a distinctive song. "Scatter January" picks up the tempo a little, making it sound not unlike a single track, the reason more that i has an upfront brightness rather than that more ethereal moodiness found on albums. Guitar cuts through like a surgically-precise knife, cosseting rather than cutting. "Love's Labour's Lost" is built on a tight strumming guitar rhythm, with only the voice there to create the layers of beautiful sound. "This Endris Night" is like something off the pre-"Treasure" singles. "Forgo" hearkens back a little to "Head Over Heels" with spots of "Tiny Dynamine" thrown in - a faster, slightly more up-tempo sound which builds in intensity into a wonderful, colourful wall. "Eudaimonia" is a slower, more lush & dreaming instrumental which echoes it's sound in translucent waves, almost to infinity. "Dead Language" again grows on you & might be considered a possible single track. Simple, effective, bright & with a grand immensity to it. Finger cymbals add a SIOUXSIE hint (circa "Lunar Camel"). "Stir About The Stars" has a moody sound to it, hinting at the more Gothic side of the TWINS - moody & full of shadows. "Noumena Of Spirit" has a certain Eastern flavour to it's steel-wire guitar sound, not pushed into overemphasis, merely a hint among the moody harmonic keyboards & voice. "Ladonna Dissima" has the lyrical structure of "Treasure" with the more delicate lacery of "Victoria Land", a sad, almost Medieval piece with beauteous Gothic hints which seduce the listener in slow-drifting beauty. "Drops, Rain & Sea" has a more forward, brighter sound, bringing memories of sunlight falling through classroom windows onto young faces, lulling them into an almost soporific stupor as a favourite teacher reads aloud to them. "Waiting For The Sunrise" gains in intense bright sound, not unlike some of the sounds I've heard from ARCANE DEVICE, before changing, reaching out like ikebana of living, growing silver & gold, illuminated into almost unbearable brightness. "And The Wood Comes Into Leaf" closes the album with a slightly Folksy song built on the rippling guitar. Her voice actually reminds me of a female MORRISSEY circa "There Is A Light That Never Goes Out" but is so much lighter & is built on a golden music.
Have I alienated everyone by hammering on about the CO ... the .. er .. group I compare them to? I hope it hasn't put you off, as it's a wonderful album & deserving of wide success. Anyone who likes the TWINS shouldn't be prejudice merely because this isn't them. You'll probably think it is, so be brave & try your luck. And if you don't like the COCTEAU TWINS' sound, avoid at all cost! As a coda, a friend of mine compared what little he heard by them to ENYA! And he wasn't a million miles off the mark.