Chantal Acda may be familiar through Sleepingdog, her rich collaboration with Adam Wiltzie of Stars Of The Lid. The Sparkle In Our Flaws has her melancholy vocals floating above delicate instrumental constructions to which Peter Broderick and Shahzad Ismaily contributed. An accomplished, drifty record, on Glitterhouse.
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Stars of the Lid adorers will be familiar with Chantal Acda’s stunning songwriting via Sleepingdog, a collaborative effort between herself and one Adam Wiltzie, who provided a suitable backdrop of fog. Acda has constantly augmented her songs with affections both neo-classical (as on ‘Let Your Hands Be My Guide’, a record clouded with the production work of Nils Frahm) and post-rock (the Sigur Ros frostbite of ‘With Our Heads In The Clouds’), but ‘The Sparkle In Our Flaws’ is her most serene yet, an overwhelming collation of crying string arrangements, sympathetic vocal harmonies and homemade percussion.
It’s easy to forget that Acda writes from the perspective of a folk musician when she adds these extra limbs of sound in: “Games” starts with an interchange of electric guitar riffs and acoustic picks, recalling Vashti Bunyan’s homely ‘Lookaftering’, but the track soon becomes altogether bolder, imbibing a proper rock song climax and gently crashing drums. “Everything and Everyone” is delicately orchestrated to the point of Peter Gabriel’s symphonic covers work; predicated on raw, chiming percussion, it soon swells with strings patient about their devastation, ready when you are. Importantly, though, Acda proves that delicate music like this need not be repetitive, need not stagnate -- “Up and Down” comes in subtle suites, eventually culminating a gentle march that sounds more pointed than any of her previous work, as if waking up from it. Acda is consistently better than the artists you think she sounds like.
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