When the original partnership of Ryan Lum and Suzanne Perry in Love Spirals Downwards dissolved, the result was a new romantic and musical union between Lum and singer/multi-instrumentalist Anji Bee. With the band slightly renamed to indicate the difference between the new directions the duo explored, the first effort from the two was the excellent Windblown Kiss. Advantageously, it isn't a radical departure from Lum's earlier work -- this isn't Mojave 3 as different from Slowdive, say -- but instead a fascinating and beautiful new path that draws from his past without repeating it. It's evident not merely in his own playing -- he's just as apt to explore moody blues licks and acoustic flamenco and bossa nova lines, as well as his trademark digital delay lushness -- but the range of the songs as a whole. Bee's singing is key here -- instead of the angelic blissout of Perry, her approach blends that touch with a subtly sassier tang, reflecting her love for singers like Billie Holiday. Indeed, much of the album feels like a performance at a very classy (but not dull) late-night establishment, with subtle grooves and the sense of passionate love suffusing the air. That she can manage a wonderfully romantic Spanish-language song "Dejame," with appropriately delicate Latin pop arrangements, not to mention equally fine singing elsewhere in German and French, as well as a cover of an obscurity by America, "You Girl," gives a good sense of her abilities. With fine guest work from Doron Orenstein on saxophone and, in two excellent duets with Bee, "How the Thieves Ride" and "You Are the Gun," Eden's Sean Bowley on both vocals and guitar, Windblown Kiss adds up as an enveloping, invigorating listen that avoids any easy goth tag to find its own darkly passionate medium.
Windblown Kiss Review
by Ned Raggett