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female voice, guitars, synths and rhythm section meld to make dark folk rock with hooks and melodies. moving on from their well-received eponymous debut, starless and bible black have drawn together the sounds of '70s topanga canyon country-rock, '80s mancunian jangle, and space-age psychedelic drones to make this dynamic, warm and woodsy second album. gone are the dulcimers and banjos of the first record, replaced by an electrifying wall of telecaster and moog, and standing in the centre of this bold, widescreen sound resides the earthy and husky voice of hlne gautier. recorded at bryn derwen within the wilds of the snowdonian mountains, and during all night sessions in the relative tranquillity of their local village hall, shape of the shape is an album of contrasting styles, themes and approaches that coheres beautifully into a seamless entity. we get guided through verses and choruses of swamp rock, gothic bluesy chanson and smoky acoustic ballads, as well as a jazz-folk tinged instrumental - after all the band take their name from the classic 1965 stan tracey cut - but the apogee of this collection is the driving drone-choral opus, les furies - sung in french, this is a very gallic observation of after hours culture. and while this album traverses all these different styles, the band never deny the importance of a fine tune and a fine song. starless and bible black were formed in manchester in 2005 when hlne gautier, guitarist peter philipson and synth man raz ullah started performing live together and they were soon joined by paul blakesley on double bass and brian edwards on drums. drum duties on recent recordings were performed courtesy of karl penney, another friend of the band. their first record was released in 2006 to unanimous critical acclaim most notably from pitchfork, wire, cmj and the new york times and a seven-inch single up with the orcadian tide was pressed up in summer 2007.
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