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- The Hearts Of Empty by Dakota Suite
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What an interesting career trajectory Dakota Suite have had. Originally a Leeds-based guitar pop band initially with Stone Roses like influences, the band only took off when guitarist Chris Hooson took over vocal duties and they morphed into a golden American Music Club countryish outfit noted for Richard Formby (Wild Beats etc producer) slide guitar. There was then a left turn into Rachel's like territory with the stunning 'Navigators Yard' and if this, at the time, seemed like a mere brief departure, over time Dakota Suite have concentrated on the filmic instrumental side of their muse with all traces of conventional song structures out the window. Which is a good thing I think as recent releases have been of utmost quality. This new release takes their slowly fracturing state one step further and if one believes the press release, temporarily dispenses with leader Chris Hooson altogether as multi instrumentalist and hidden weapon David Buxton takes centre stage. One can't help be reminded of the wonderful Felt album 'Train Above the City' where frontman Laurence was only on song title duties while Martin Duffy did all the music. The jazzy, instrumental nature of that LP is captured here with a series of evocative, smoky cuts which feature brushed drums, double bass and piano which is absolutely breathtaking at times and done with rare skill and panache. You never once think of wine bar/Richard Clayderman tinklings which is sometimes what these kind of albums can stray too far towards. Instead, think of a solo instrumental only Robert Wyatt.
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