The Durutti Column

Another Setting

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Continuing -- perhaps to a fault -- the sound and style of LC, Another Setting is a quite fine effort from Reilly and Mitchell, which makes up for quality what it lacks in surprising reinvention. Whereas LC was a clear leap forward from an impressive start, Another Setting tries slight variations instead, otherwise sticking to the same combination of Reilly's elegant guitar work; Mitchell's subtle, effective drum lines; and a dollop of distanced singing and keyboard work from Reilly on top of that partnership. Given that this combination is already so distinctly and uniquely the band's, though, it's hard to complain too much when hearing numbers like the gently tense "Bordeaux" and the emotional, oboe-tinged crawl of "Smile in the Crowd," later covered by Depeche Mode's Martin Gore. Opening track "Prayer" is actually one of the best things he's done, a softly rising, meditative piece with soft synth horns mixing with a brief Reilly guitar part just so. "Francesca," meanwhile, demonstrates his skills at combining a central melody with subtle improvisation and development throughout the rest of the track, again double-tracking his pieces to create a hypnotic effect. These and many other moments clearly signal where a fair amount of Cocteau Twins' work would eventually go, not to mention other later avatars of experimental guitar calm like Talk Talk and Piano Magic. Mitchell's standout moments crop up throughout, one of the best being "The Beggar." Giving just enough drumming heft and power to be as anthemic as an early U2 song without sounding ridiculously overwrought at all, it's a grand fusion of Durutti's general restraint and a more straightforward punch. The sometimes easy-to-miss humor in Durutti also remains present, as the title of one Morricone-tinged number puts it, "For a Western." Its 1998 reissue is a humdinger -- besides including the entirety of the quite rare Amigos Em Portugal release, a five-song EP released only in that country, both sides of the "Favourite Descending Intervals"/"To End With" single fill out the disc.

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