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Monday, Feb 25 2008 | 13:24 Buy this now at GoodToGo (B2B)

In 1997 Alpha’s debut album “Come From Heaven” on fellow Bristol residents Massive Attack’s Melankolic label managed to operate a delicate synthesis between the pop classicism of the 1960s and the modernity of contemporary productions. In this album, Alpha – made up of Corin Dingley and Andy Jenks – alluded to the greatest songwriters and arrangers of the past (Lee Hazlewood, Scott Walker, Jimmy Webb or Burt Bacharach), without ever yielding to the facilities of sympathetic nostalgia or retro-futurism. Quickly the list of their admirers looked like a who-is-who of the international pop scene: David Bowie, Radiohead, Pulp, or Madonna all raved about “Come From Heaven”.

After the release of their remix album “Pepper” in 1998 and a European tour with Massive Attack, it took Alpha three years to return with their second album, “The Impossible Thrill”. There Andy and Corin continued with the work started on “Come From Heaven” by enriching their musical palette with organic sounds and mixing strings to the most relevant samples.

With the end of the Melankolic imprint, the outfit was left isolated and exclusively dependant on itself. Alpha took advantage of what could have been a restraint and tied new bonds, notably in France, where they undertook fruitful collaborations with some artists (Avia) and the Catalogue label, now in charge of the band’s releases across Europe, and licensed “The Sky Is Mine” to LA based label Cat’N’Roof for the rest of the world.

As usual Andy and Corin crafted “The Sky Is Mine” in their own home studio, in an intimate atmosphere disturbed only by a few births … Carrying on their work of sonic exploration and experimentation, they recorded about fifty tracks before proceeding to a strict selection. The outcome is strikingly coherent. This album features the regular vocalists of Alpha: Wendy Stubbs, Martin Barnard, Helen White and Kelvin Swaby, as well as Peter Wild on piano and Dan Taylor on guitar.

Tracklisting:

CD1

01. Stargazing
02. Surely
03. Brood
04. Push
05. Burn Me Again
06. May
07. Given Time
08. For The Wages
09. Home
10. Stumbled
11. Silver Bullet
12. A Little Poison

CD2

01. Brasier Ardent Theme
02. Ariel
03. Morbison
04. Till you drop
05. First day
06. End
07. A Little Poison (Languis Remix)
08. Burn Me Again (Cato Remix)
09. Stargazing (Thomas Blondet Remix)
10. Stumble (Languis Remix)
11. Burn Me Again (Wendy Stubbs Remix)
12. Song Of Silence (Instrumental)

Reactions:

Alpha, a Bristol outfit responsible for two of the most remarkable songs of the 1990s – “Wise” and “Sometime Later”, better than anything Portishead, Tricky or Massive Attack ever released – track them down right now, they’re pure molten beauty.The Guardian Unlimited 2007

The sound of dysfunctional Carpenters ballads set to a John Barry score. It’s utterly heartbreaking.

Q Magazine

Citing the likes of Scott Walker and Glen Campbell as influences, Alpha take the established art of songwriting and put their own unique slant on it, creating everything from dub-driven instrumentals to epic string-laden masterpieces.i-D Magazine

The album AlphaThe Sky Is Mine (Deluxe Edition)” (Cat ‘n Roof) has been released February 22, 2008.

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