The Left Outsides - There Is A Place album review

Eerie and evocative new songs and reworked material inspired by forests

The Left Outsides - There Is A Place album artwork

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Gus Alvarez’s short film Stand & Deliver found a girl waking disoriented in a wood and here the duo of Alison Cotton and Mark Nicholas revisit and expand their 2009 soundtrack. As we are now fully entrenched in autumn, the arrival of this album seems particularly apt as it captures so well the mood of the season. The openingCry Of The Hunter is sombre and enigmatic. Ominous piano chords underpin Cotton’s violin lines, which hang like mist in a clearing, along with her wordless vocals. With Nicholas’ breathy tones and slow distorted guitar chords, One Step At A Time sounds rather like a decelerated shoegaze song. And the brief Into The Deep with Cotton singing, draws comparison with Beach House and Low, but it feels closer in style to the crepuscular moods of Mazzy Star with a dash of gnarly old English folk. Under Noonday Sun, with bass and drums is upbeat, almost poppy, like an updated outtake from the first Fairport album. But the album’s mood is summed up by the closing The Creeping Fog, with over-echoed feedback guitar and resiny violin, and Cotton singing, ‘As night draws near, a lamp I light/The frozen fields ahead of me.’

Mike Barnes

Mike Barnes is the author of Captain Beefheart - The Biography (Omnibus Press, 2011) and A New Day Yesterday: UK Progressive Rock & the 1970s (2020). He was a regular contributor to Select magazine and his work regularly appears in Prog, Mojo and Wire. He also plays the drums.