sybris Into the Trees (CD, £10.95)label: Absolutely Kosher
Chicago's Sybris is a quartet of powerful grace, the sound of a battalion of Valkyries astride winged horses bound for Valhalla. Propelled by singer Angela Mullenhour's sugar-coated knife-edge voice, a unique entity in itself, brimming with shattering potential and weighted with its own world-weariness; elegant, bruised, but never defeated. Recorded with John Congleton (Explosions In The Sky) and with vocals at one moment recalling the childlike exuberance of Joanna Newsom, flailing deliriously deep and ecstatic as Björk the next, Mullenhour unleashes a voice her band mates abet with no shortage of reverb and galloping percussion, although they occasionally struggle to keep pace with her vocal acrobatics.
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