Various Artists

After Twilight

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After so many re-releases of famed earlier compilations on Crépuscule, most notably via the LTM label, it's perhaps no surprise to see a brand-new one featuring a range of those performers who graced the original collections, at once a celebration of the past and a way to catch up with many of them all at once. Coordinated by Isabelle Antena and with performers like Paul Haig, Blaine Reininger, Antena, Anna Domino, and more all taking bows, After Twilight is an appropriate name to begin with -- if the "time" of Crépuscule seems to have long passed, the spirit continues nonetheless, and kicking off with Cathy Claret's breezy bossa nova/ye-ye pop "Toi" effectively sets the tone throughout the rest of the collection. It's as if it was a nightclub with a rotating series of singers and performers, all while easygoing rhythms, delicate guitar work, and the occasional visit to the veranda to enjoy sultry heat all combine (even Reininger's "Throat Singing" fits that category, despite what you might think). Drawing almost entirely on reinterpretations of older songs or recording pieces that had never been formally released before, the resultant collection splits an enjoyable difference between the familiar and the unexpected. The most straight-up rock songs, like the Names' "Halloween in June," done with Isabelle Antena on guest vocals, are understatedly peppy and crisp rather than ripping on out (though the Names' other contribution, "White Shadow," arguably helps clear the room at the end of the night). It's also a fine way to hear how certain performers' voices have changed over time: Haig's vocals are among his best on songs like "Christiana," reflective and a bit lighter; Domino's "Rythm'" helps show her more mature voice nicely (a little less sweetly cool, more serenely tangy); while Reininger's "Broken Fingers," with the help of darker electric guitar parts, finds him carrying on the Lee Hazlewood tradition very well. Perhaps unsurprisingly Antena's selections sound the most at home here -- "Straight to the Point" soars off into the outer space pop vein of the band's last album, whooshing noises and echo mixing in with the flute and funk breakdowns.

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