After releasing the gorgeous chamber pop album In the Morning We'll Meet, the Italian maestro Giorgio Tuma turned to singles as a means of experimentation and collaboration. Working with Lena Karlsson of Komeda, Laetitia Sadier, and Malik Moore of Stones Throw band the Lions, Tuma branched out into cabaret and reggae, before returning with an album in 2016. This Life Denied Me Your Love captures the experimental spirit of the singles, mixes it with Tuma's trademark swirl of rich chamber pop sounds, and delivers a typically warm listening experience. As before, Tuma sounds like a missing link between the High Llamas, Broadcast, a weird children's TV show from the late '60s, and a lonely singer strolling down the nighttime streets of Rome. Throw in some smoothly burnished soft rock (especially on the luxurious ballad "Foxes Don't Lie") and a song that would fit perfectly at the end of the saddest Muppet movie ("My Last Tears Will Be a Blue Melody"), then add gauzy production on many songs from Italian dream pop artist Matilde Davoli, and it's a slight change of pace for Tuma. Unlike previous albums, there's a layer of reverb and effects that washes over many of the songs, giving the dreamier midtempo songs a hazy, smudged sound and giving other tracks, like the rumbling country ballad "Mountain Elia K," an almost epically cinematic feel. All the aspects of Tuma's sound come together on "Maude Hope," the brilliant collaboration with Laetitia Sadier that sounds like a combination of every good band of the late '90s -- well Stereolab, Spiritualized, and the High Llamas anyway -- mashed up with an Umbrellas of Chambord outtake. It's five minutes of glorious pop and definite proof that Tuma remains a skilled craftsman. On This Life Denied Me Your Love, he and his collaborators (who include Michael Andrews of "Mad World" fame) have made something quite beautiful that's ideal late-night listening for those who fancy themselves true sophisticates and connoisseurs of the best kind of easy listening music.
AllMusic Review by Tim Sendra