Coloma

Finery

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    9
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AllMusic Review by

Along with other German dance labels like Kompakt, Italic, and Ladomat 2000, Ware has built its catalog with producers who deal in microhouse, a variant of house music that relies on subtleties as much as mainstream house producers shy away from them. None of the labels have been averse to appealing to listeners on a melodic and sometimes even song-based level (see Italic's Borneo & Sporenburg and Ladomat's Phantom Ghost), but none of them have released a record as song-based and steeped in traditional songcraft as Coloma's Finery. There's no denying, however, that the album is perfectly at home on Ware -- the attention to detail, evident throughout these fragile but hardly precious arrangements that combine electronic programming with dashes of piano, acoustic guitar, vibraphones, strings, and horns, is just as rooted in minimal dance music as it is in arty English groups like Japan, the Blue Nile, and Bark Psychosis. As lovely and layered as Alex Paulick's productions are, what makes Finery glow is vocalist Rob Taylor. His winsome yet elegant voice, untreated and mixed to the front and center, holds an alluring vulnerability. The draw is increased considerably with the vivid settings of the songs he writes and the patterns within his delivery. He's particularly seductive in "The Tailor": "You're giving me the needle if you follow my thread/I can show you anything you want because it's all in your head." In "Summer Clothes," his naïveté is as palpable and sweet as Green Gartside's in Scritti Politti songs like "The Sweetest Girl" and "Perfect Way": "When the sky above's an infinite blue/Why don't you let the sunshine through?" Despite the excited parallels that can be drawn, Finery couldn't have been made at any other point in time. The paramount mark it leaves is that it's as visionary as anything recorded by the other groups mentioned above. All hail the new sophisti-pop.

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