First solo album in six years brooks no compromise.
A thirty-year career has finally convinced sceptics that Sylvian really is committed to warping the boundaries. Here, that luxurious voice, weathered and warm, sings over intuitive improvisations from the likes of Christian Fennesz and Evan Parker. It’s more accessible than 2003’s Blemish, even if “Manafon” (named after poet R S Thomas’ Welsh parish) is crooned over what might be snooker balls rolling around on baize. As left-fielders line up to hail him the “new” Scott Walker, one thing’s constantly overlooked. The wry, fatalistic humour of his third-person narratives (“Emily Dickinson”, “The Greatest Living Englishman”) makes him the “new” Leonard Cohen too. A class above.
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