There was always going to be something a bit holy about an album called Chapter And Verse.
Aussie two-piece The Merlin Bird’s second offering quotes religious imagery and Latin with the confidence of a defrocked priest on absinthe. Add to this a willingness to try out a wild smorgasbord of musical styles, from monkish chanting to Floydian riffage to pumped-up mock-medieval folk, and you’ve got a winner. But that’s less than half the story. If Geoff Dawes and Dan Moloney’s project is a testament to what two men with a truck full of instruments and talent can achieve, it’s really a showcase for some wondrous female guest vocals. From Beck Sian – cousin once removed to England’s glory, Kate Bush – to classical singer Shakira Searle and jazz artist Jessica Nabb, there’s a feast of vox. However, it’s the interplay between Searle’s soprano, Dawe’s cool tenor and Teleri Holton, a renaissance-style singer, on the mesmeric Another Story Told which really tingles the spine. Searle’s voice is also perfect for the harpsichord-led Of Night And Day. One for fans of Enid-style symphonic prog as well as eclectic world music, The Merlin Bird have created an offering that sings. RM