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Sun's Signature|Sun's Signature

Sun's Signature

Sun's Signature

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It's been 26 years since the Cocteau Twins last released new music (the Milk and Kisses album) and in that time, their one-of-a-kind vocalist Elizabeth Fraser has released precisely two original songs (2000's "Underwater" and 2009's "Moses'') and guested on a handful of others, including Massive Attack's "Teardrop" in 1998 which stands among the most iconic of her performances. While her former bandmate (and partner) Robin Guthrie has been exponentially more productive in the intervening years, the general sameness of his many releases has made the rarity and uniqueness of Fraser's work over the last quarter-century that much more attention-grabbing. Accordingly, the arrival of a five-song EP that clocks in at nearly a half hour feels like it should be a revelatory indulgence. It is not. Instead, it is an excellent and dynamic listening experience that's built around some surprisingly straightforward structures.  Fraser's voice is in fine form and her creative collaboration with her current life partner (Massive Attack touring drummer Damon Reece) is yielding work that is interesting and engaging, stripping away some of the gauzy unknowability of her earlier output and occasionally sounding a little bit ordinary. Sun's Signature kicks off with a revamped version of "Underwater," a gentle, spare, and sing-songy tune that quickly evolves into something more enveloping and dramatic. While dynamics have always been a specialty of both Fraser and Reece, the two's flair for expansive drama yields mixed results here. "Underwater" is exceptional and transcendent in its varying colors, while "Bluedusk'' tilts too far into its theatricality, with timpani-forward percussion and an arid, music-box production style that is too peculiar by half, forcing sonic filigree to make up for a thin slice of a song idea. "Golden Air'' is the big, voice-from-the-heavens number Cocteau Twins fans may be looking for, and it delivers all the spine-tingling, "what did I just hear?" trills and crescendos of the duo's late-period work. However, "Apples" is clearly the signature piece. Intentionally restrained in all the right ways, it's a seven-and-a-half minute slowburn that starts with an airy, acoustic accompaniment (played by, of all folks, Steve Hackett) to Fraser's voice, which is singing at the higher end of its register, only to quickly be accompanied by a double-track harmony of itself. The song slowly and thoughtfully unfolds, refusing to indulge in bombast or empty ambiance, and instead focusing on a calm but dynamic approach that's quite unconventional but deeply engaging. "Apples" is not just one of the EP's most sonically rewarding pieces, it's also the one that is the most interesting. One hopes that if there is more to come from the duo, they will dig into surprising sounds like those. © Jason Ferguson/Qobuz

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Sun's Signature

Sun's Signature

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1
Underwater
00:06:45

Sean Cook, Composer - Elizabeth Fraser, Composer, Producer - Damon Reece, Producer - Tim Lewis, Composer - Sun's Signature, MainArtist - Damon John Reece, Composer

© 2022 Partisan Records ℗ 2022 Partisan Records

2
Golden Air
00:05:42

Sean Cook, Composer - Elizabeth Fraser, Composer, Producer - Damon Reece, Producer - Tim Lewis, Composer - Sun's Signature, MainArtist - Damon John Reece, Composer

© 2022 Partisan Records ℗ 2022 Partisan Records

3
Bluedusk
00:05:00

Elizabeth Fraser, Composer, Producer - Damon Reece, Producer - Tim Lewis, Composer - Sun's Signature, MainArtist - Damon John Reece, Composer

© 2022 Partisan Records ℗ 2022 Partisan Records

4
Apples
00:07:27

Elizabeth Fraser, Composer, Producer - Damon Reece, Producer - Alex Lee, Composer - Sun's Signature, MainArtist - Damon John Reece, Composer

© 2022 Partisan Records ℗ 2022 Partisan Records

5
Make Lovely The Day
00:02:29

Elizabeth Fraser, Composer, Producer - Steve Hackett, Composer - Damon Reece, Producer - Sun's Signature, MainArtist - Damon John Reece, Composer

© 2022 Partisan Records ℗ 2022 Partisan Records

Album Description

It's been 26 years since the Cocteau Twins last released new music (the Milk and Kisses album) and in that time, their one-of-a-kind vocalist Elizabeth Fraser has released precisely two original songs (2000's "Underwater" and 2009's "Moses'') and guested on a handful of others, including Massive Attack's "Teardrop" in 1998 which stands among the most iconic of her performances. While her former bandmate (and partner) Robin Guthrie has been exponentially more productive in the intervening years, the general sameness of his many releases has made the rarity and uniqueness of Fraser's work over the last quarter-century that much more attention-grabbing. Accordingly, the arrival of a five-song EP that clocks in at nearly a half hour feels like it should be a revelatory indulgence. It is not. Instead, it is an excellent and dynamic listening experience that's built around some surprisingly straightforward structures.  Fraser's voice is in fine form and her creative collaboration with her current life partner (Massive Attack touring drummer Damon Reece) is yielding work that is interesting and engaging, stripping away some of the gauzy unknowability of her earlier output and occasionally sounding a little bit ordinary. Sun's Signature kicks off with a revamped version of "Underwater," a gentle, spare, and sing-songy tune that quickly evolves into something more enveloping and dramatic. While dynamics have always been a specialty of both Fraser and Reece, the two's flair for expansive drama yields mixed results here. "Underwater" is exceptional and transcendent in its varying colors, while "Bluedusk'' tilts too far into its theatricality, with timpani-forward percussion and an arid, music-box production style that is too peculiar by half, forcing sonic filigree to make up for a thin slice of a song idea. "Golden Air'' is the big, voice-from-the-heavens number Cocteau Twins fans may be looking for, and it delivers all the spine-tingling, "what did I just hear?" trills and crescendos of the duo's late-period work. However, "Apples" is clearly the signature piece. Intentionally restrained in all the right ways, it's a seven-and-a-half minute slowburn that starts with an airy, acoustic accompaniment (played by, of all folks, Steve Hackett) to Fraser's voice, which is singing at the higher end of its register, only to quickly be accompanied by a double-track harmony of itself. The song slowly and thoughtfully unfolds, refusing to indulge in bombast or empty ambiance, and instead focusing on a calm but dynamic approach that's quite unconventional but deeply engaging. "Apples" is not just one of the EP's most sonically rewarding pieces, it's also the one that is the most interesting. One hopes that if there is more to come from the duo, they will dig into surprising sounds like those. © Jason Ferguson/Qobuz

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