Reviewed by Mike Rimmer
Be warned, this is a grower. I listened to this a couple of times and put it away convinced that Sixpence had blown it! Returning a while later, three more listens and suddenly it was like a light being switched on. This is beyond brilliant! Available on import only with no prospect of a release in the Christian market over here, the long awaited third Sixpence album may get a mainstream release over here in the autumn, but if you don't want to wait you'll have to try to import one! Finally wriggling free from their REX contractual legal nightmares, the band came close to splitting up in the process. Now a three piece, they lost bass player J J Plasencio (who guests on this recording) to Plumb. A great many of the songs are a cathartic reflection on the downside of their recent troubles. The whole album has a psalm like quality lyrically embracing the pain and redemption the band have experienced. It opens with three songs cut together that act as a curtain raiser for what is to follow. On "Anything" when Leigh Nash sings Matt Slocum's lyric "This is my 45th depressing song", the band aren't joking! The song highlights the pain of wanting confirmation from God that they should continue. The theme is continued on "The Waiting Room", a powerful metaphor for the band's struggles to continue. "I Can't Catch You", "Kiss Me" and "Easy To Ignore" are musically lighter and would make hit singles. The latter features some great violin playing from Antoine Silverman. As you'd come to expect from a Sixpence album, Leigh's floating vulnerable vocals add a beauty to the album and they are never better than on the magnificent "Love", which is a poetic picture of our need to die to self. Signed to Steve Taylor's fledgling Squint label, Taylor's production work has created a magnificent huge yet delicately rich soundscape for the band. Sensitive string arrangements, chiming guitars, understated musical moments make this whole album an absolute stonker. Sixpence have been promising an absolute classic album and it's been a hard journey for them to get here but perhaps ironically it's been their business struggles that have acted as a catalyst for this masterpiece. If I could, I'd give it 11 squares!
Also reviewed in CR53:
Originally released stateside in '97, why we've had to wait two years to see a UK release is beyond me! Steve Taylor has apparently allowed the band free reign to express themselfes in a truly representational way; bringing out and enabling the band to maintain their potential throughout. Sixpence's latest projects boasts excellent arrangements complete with exquisite instrumentation with each piece, thanks to Matt Slocum (guitar/chello), Leigh Nash (vocals), Dave ballor (drums) and a host of session musicians; including the likes of Tom Howard, Phil Madeirs and JJ Plasenico. Home to the hit single 'Kiss Me', a quaint rustic love song inspired by a Dylan Thomas poem featured in the recent film 'She's All That', Sixpence's latest collection also boasts other fine compositions well worth checking out. Stand out tracks include 'Anything', for it's vivid poetic imagery; the country tinged folk rock mood and tone of 'Easy To Ignore', and the disciplined aggression of 'Love'. Once again Sixpence None The Richer have come up trumps with a very fine set of songs about faith, hope and of course love.
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