saint joan The Wrecker's Lantern (CD, £8.75)label: camera obscura
The title of Saint Joan's first full length album alludes to the 19th century practice of luring a ship onto the rocks by faking the beam of a lighthouse with a swinging lantern, causing the ship to run aground, its treasure to be plundered. It continues the bands interest in all things maritime. The sea as the subconscious as Carl Jung would have it. The band takes inspiration from Hieronymus Bosch in "The Four Last Things" and The Tempest in "Singing Bowl". They conjure love and loss, seasick sailors and freight trains, hills and mountains, rivers and fading street lights. The album continues the sound established by band's first release, the 7" single "All Things Melt/The Ice House" as well as the more sparse chamber music leanings of 2005 mini album "One At Twilight". Epic, psychedelic stream-of-consciousness psychodramas about loss like 'December' contrast with the more fragmented, melancholy of "Gone" with its looping guitar and lush strings. The widescreen folk-rock drive of "Singing Bowl", place it alongside vintage Walkabouts. Recorded in an old warehouse in the autumn "The Wrecker's Lantern" evokes time and place at every turn and yet seeks to transcend them. It is the sound of beauty, timeless and incarnate. Press for Previous Saint Joan releases: "a wonderful British take on the glow of post-jangle California strum pop" - Byron Coley in The Wire "Hints of disheveled, Tindersticks- style romance peek out from behind a violin-lined veil of Low-like austerity. Ellen McGees throaty purr and harrowing falsetto conjures images of a young Polly Harvey communing with 60s folk/blues troubadouress Judy Henske." - Magnet Magazine review of "One at Twilight" "sleepy sullen sensuality conjures smoky opiated dreams in the mind of the listener. when Ellen sings, she makes heartache sound like something truly beautiful." - Dream Magazine review of "One at Twilight".
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