Jackie Leven

The Mystery of Love Is Greater Than the Mystery of Death

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Jackie Leven's The Mystery of Love Is Greater Than the Mystery of Death is one of those special releases that intrigues and puzzles on first listen, while laying new circuitry in your subconscious that draws you inexorably back for more. There is absolutely no premeditated "format" to relate this to, nor adequate words to convey this disc's mesmerizing content. On one level, it's all over the place, ranging from Celtic mysticism to Bacharach-David crooning, from atmospheric whispers to Big Country-ish epic statements, from traditional folk instrumentation to lush strings. But it still works as a whole, linked in a loosely thematic way by thoughtful poetry fragments intoned by collaborator Robert Bly (the Waterboys' Mike Scott also guests on the sessions). Leven's deep, reverb-laden vocals (he sang, in the early '80s with obscure new wave band Doll by Doll) reminds one in places of another brilliant, enigmatic British performer, Scott Walker.

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