Peter Lacey

Anderida

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Sonically speaking, Peter Lacey's third full-length effort does not make any dramatic advancements on his two previous albums. But then, so what? Anderida is every bit as lush, lofty, and melodically rich as Beam! and Thru a Glass Brightly. And, like those sterling, suite-like marvels, it actively constructs its own shimmering, self-contained world from scratch, and then proceeds to spin it around you. The angels, anyway, are in the details, and they peak out from behind every corner of Anderida. With a few exceptions, Lacey again acts as essentially his own studio and band. The technical limitations of such an approach, however, no longer feel like artistic impediments. The scope of his imagination is matched only by his ability to paint his marvelous songs -- and their typically flowing tunefulness -- with precisely the right brush strokes. As a result, the music is part transcendental Beach Boys (circa Surf's Up and Sunflower); part alternative, dreamtime Sussex; and part wooded medieval madrigal (the gorgeous "Chime In," for instance). Coated in haunting echo, it seems, in its more delicate and otherworldly moments (and there are many of those), as if it is being piped in from a parallel dimension, almost as if the songs are made out of a fine china, Fabergé treasures picked directly out of a Hans Christian Andersen tale or a Spenserian sonnet. When it draws closer to its rock roots ("Motorvation," "Carnival"), there is still the sense that you are listening to something that exists miles off on the horizon, with a pale sunniness that beautifully recalls toasted '70s pop. And Lacey stretches his stylistic range with songs like "The Great Hurt," its chord changes only a hair's-breadth from the blues, "Freewheelin'," a soulful prog-like instrumental that lives up to its title, and "The Silver Lady," a jazzy, glitter-hued gazebo tune that might just as easily have come from a 1930s Broadway show. Taken together, they amount to yet another splendid reverie from one of the best-kept secrets of British pop. [This album is available online at www.pinkhedgehog.com.]

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