In the Nursery


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Perhaps ITN's most carefully composed and performed release up to this point, Duality builds on the various strengths of earlier works -- the basic performance style established on Stormhorse, the sweep and range of L'Esprit, and the increasing subtlety provided by both that and Sense, resulting in an album that is not simply pleasant but truly inspiring and evocative. "Belle Epoque" begins Duality with a mix of piano, strings, horns, chorus effects, and Q's snare drumming, here a little more restrained and all the more effective for it, that is instantly memorable. Very much in line with the "filmic" nature of earlier releases, it practically begs to be the musical backdrop of some lush romantic drama. The hints of dancefloor-based experimentation crop up again as well, with "Always" providing a particularly sharp example, as shuddering bass and a low-key funk beat underpin a dramatic narrative piece and another lovely orchestral arrangement, while "Pulse" lives up to its title, with the beat lurking at the base of the piece. String arrangements here often take on quite a rhythmic approach as well, continuing in the line of experimental percussion touches from before. More so than most of their releases, Duality also contains a lot of poetry and recitation within the various songs. Unlike, say, the somewhat overripe efforts of the Moody Blues in past years, ITN's selections and performances match together perfectly; whoever the uncredited male narrator is on "Corruption," he brings a commanding voice to some quite Romantic with a capital "R" lyrics in concert with Dolores Marguerite, as a strong, exquisite musical piece unfolds and builds behind them. In all, another fine album indeed from the brothers Humberstone.

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