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Still as strange an anomaly on Warp as they were when first signed back in 2003 or whenever, Gravenhurst (actually just main man Nick Talbot these days) return after a 5 year gap. I loved Gravenhursts first two records (I'm including mini album 'Black Holes in the Sand' here), was less keen on the latter two, not that they were bad just that the initial stark Nick Drake songwriting was somehow less effective once fleshed out with 'post rock' dynamics. This one takes a little from both camps, opener 'Circadian' is based around a folky guitar figure and builds effectively with good use of various instruments, taking cues from the 70's folk rock likes of Pentangle and Fairport Convention. Second track 'The Prize' is where you get the good and the not so good rolled into one. It starts a little dreary but soon rolls into a beautiful chorus, eventually bringing in some gorgeous strings but is the noisy distorted overlong outro really necessary? 'Fizrovia' is much more like it on the arranging front, in fact this could have come off either of his first two albums, heavenly drifty atmospheres, gorgeous picked acoustic guitars and chilling imagery laden lyrics. Similarly 'In Miniature' is gentle, rolling 'Pink Moon' influenced autumnal bliss. Occasionally the album veers off a little too far into ambient abstraction but if it means waiting a little longer for lovely wintery folk gems such as 'The Ghost of Saint Paul' and insanely gorgeous closer 'Three Fires' then its worth persevering. A classic slow burner that despite a few flaws rewards the intrepid listener.
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