The second album by the 4AD collective headed by label founder Ivo Watts-Russell distills the This Mortal Coil concept somewhat. There's more of a core group now, featuring Simon Raymonde of the Cocteau Twins, producer John Fryer, arranger Martin McCarrick, and Watts-Russell himself, backing a variety of mostly female singers. The double album is nearly half instrumentals (all of them given the traditional 4AD treatment of layers of echo, reverb, and phasing), most of which are pleasant enough but not particularly memorable. The vocal tracks, however, continue the debut's trend of intriguing versions of fascinatingly obscure covers, ranging from Pearls Before Swine's mysteriously beautiful "The Jeweller" (with Scott Walker-like vocals by Dominic Appleton) and Tim Buckley's "I Must Have Been Blind" (sung by Richenel, apparently from the bottom of a very deep well) to Talking Heads' "Drugs" (with a fiery, soulful vocal by Alison Limerick over a harsh, thumping rhythm track) and Colin Newman's "Alone," each of them reinterpreted in the unique This Mortal Coil style. Less focused than It'll End in Tears, Filigree & Shadow is an uneven but often inspired follow-up.
AllMusic Review by Stewart Mason