In the Cocteau Twins era of the 4AD label, Evi Vine would have been swiftly propelled to front covers and ‘alternative’ radio play.
Nowadays, with the word ‘ethereal’ locked up in the cliché cupboard, they can just murmur from the margins, their intensity and slow-motion angst to be admired by a furrow-browed few. This second album lacks nothing in atmosphere and sorrow, but its gothic shimmers and shivers are crystals for a cult. Singer Vine and ‘sonics’ maestro Steven Hill headed to woodlands outside Berlin where they read Thoreau’s musings on solitude, so it’s no surprise the album brooks no concession to mundane reality. Co-produced with Richard Formby (Mogwai, Wild Beasts) and mixed by Phill Brown (Talk Talk), it drifts through wispy, faltering echoes of Kate Bush’s The Ninth Wave, This Mortal Coil and Portishead, emitting a sense of weary beauty and portentous ennui. With some-time members of Goldfrapp, Florence & The Machine and Fields Of The Nephilim contributing, the wash of melancholy is unremitting. Vine’s frail voice ghosts in and out, bemoaning such problems as Love Is Gone and I’m Not Here. It’s an album set on capturing absence, not presence.