No-Man

Lovesighs: An Entertainment

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Not an album but a brief collection of early singles and cuts for One Little Indian, Lovesighs is a wonderful introduction to the group as a whole, not to mention a near-perfect official start for the band in and of itself. The blend of Tim Bowness' breathy, passionate singing, Steve Wilson's ear for funk loops and dance beats, and Coleman's elegant violin playing immediately set the band apart from the rampant 1990 baggy scene into its own shimmering, sharp world. The two absolute killer tracks are "Colours" (a remake of the Donovan standard with a big beat, this is a fine Coleman solo with quietly emotional vocals from Bowness) and the simply wondrous "Days in the Trees." Appearing in two different versions, both are utter keepers. The "Mahler" take features Bowness' sweeping singing over a slamming breakbeat and background strings, which Coleman adds to just right with his own upfront contribution. When Wilson fully adds some astonishing, sparkling guitar toward the end, it's pure aural heaven. The "Reich" take, meanwhile, samples dialogue from an episode of Twin Peaks, with Lara Flynn Boyle's character talking about going out with some older boys. Combined with Wilson's gentle, minimal arrangement of keyboard loops and synth strings, it makes for a haunting yet pretty fusion. Two different takes of the equally fine "Heartcheat Pop" also appear, the second being the halfway-to-instrumental "Heartcheat Motel." Other tracks of note include "Kiss Me Stupid," with a playful looped start and moody chimes and notes floating amid the crisp beats and Bowness' always-exquisite vocals; and "Iris Murdoch Cut Me Up," starting with a dramatic, threatening air and continuing it even when the drums and funk guitar kick in. Only "Drink Judas" is comparatively less thrilling than the rest, and even that's a fine example of what the band can do.

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