Bows

Cassidy

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    8
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AllMusic Review by

Although a fair percentage of the elements found on Bows' mildly disappointing debut carry over on Cassidy, it's a near-quantum leap from being occasionally great and rather uneven to thoroughly wonderful and fully luscious. The second album from former Long Fin Killie vocalist/multi-instrumentalist wonder kid Luke Sutherland's Bows project shows that the first wasn't just a purging of stray ideas, demonstrating he should have done whatever possible to keep his relatively standard rock band together. Oh no -- this rates as one of Sutherland's finest moments, a dream pop record with fluttering guitars, sighing vocals, swaying strings, and booming beats galore. Sutherland again swaps his typically erotic and expressive vocal duties with Speaker Bite Me's lissome, honey-drenched Signe Hoirup Wille-Jorgensen over tales of lust, romantic bliss, and fragmentary social observations. Valuable assistance is provided throughout by former LFK bandmate Colin Greig (bass), Curve/Echobelly/Snowpony alum Debbie Smith (guitar), and Howard Monk (drums), along with a shortlist of other associates who contribute less frequently. The results are spectacular, a true return to excellence for Sutherland. The opening "Luftsang" is all Bonham-size kick drums, butterfly flutters, and exasperated vocals; the shuffle/stutter beats and twinkling melodies of "Uniroyal" and "DJ" give way to the most gushingly euphoric slices of dream pop since AR Kane's "A Love From Outer Space"; "Ali 4 Onassis" is filled with the butterflies of love, too ("It's like rockets flaming all around you/All my summers come at once"). Thanks to some bizarre force (alchemy, mayhaps?), the record applies a host of nuances outnumbering the ones on Blush and wind up sounding like much less of a mishmash (a dubby bassline here, a drum'n'bass molestation there). Even the more ambient-leaning songs feel fully realized, fashioned to maximum effect.

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