Firefly Music 2021
British weavers of art-rock reveries return to the place where absence reign to fill the void with a feeling.
The last thing one could accuse this small ensemble of would be slyness, yet Jonathan Edwards and Rachel Cohen cunningly announced their sophomore album through a folk-informed reading of “Ordinary World” – for there’s nothing ordinary about record whose vague concept, picking up where the duo’s debut "The Science Of Goodbye" left off, tries to capture emotional erosion. If its predecessor’s cover offered a helping hand, the artwork and the themes of “Love’s Lost Property” focus on falling out of favor, the platter’s titular epic slowly and sadly drifting into the frame on a violin wave to unfold an arresting, time-devouring tune, hermetically enclose the rest of the songs and sign off with a brief reprise.
That’s the vibrant space in which Rachel and Jonathan stream understated drama and allow Dave Gregory’s fluid lines and slightly serrated riffs cut the listener’s heartline, and though “Dark Before Dawn” builds transparent expectancy by introducing sunny vocal harmonies to instrumental gloom, Edwards’ insistent piano and Cohen’s silvery voice transform “Requiem” into a much more spiritual recital than the number’s chamber air might initially suggest. However, the same inner cosmos will feel touchingly intimate in “Last Day On Earth” that floats on effervescent, albeit anchored with heavy organ, ivories beyond the piece’s prog-themed cathedral, before the magnificent ballad “Wish I Wished You Well” removes aural cinematics from its melody, stripping the arrangement to bare essentials to let it seep into one’s skin.
At this point, the tremulous acoustics of “The Circus” start radiating joie de vivre and swirl in a bewitching dance, as the singer casts her spell over the fairground-like keyboards, and the deceptively vindictive “Eye For An Eye” swells, rising up to wuthering heights, to reveal a sax-smeared, faux-orchestral sympathy. That’s what is love’s lost property – the ever-powerful compassion, and the music amassed around its absence can’t be less than staggering.