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Friday, Dec 08 2017 | 20:08
Image: 1616886 A followup to their 2015 debut with Ninja Tune, Richard and Sheila
Ellis’ sophomore effort, “The Cleansing,” exists in the folds, shaking
the categorization of a single genre or label by casting echoes of Billie
Holiday and Antonio Carlos Jobim atop opaque shades of Debussy and
Edgar Allen Poe.
Elements of Jazz and Bossa Nova, accented by striking vocals and
enigmatic spoken-word poetry, display a command of the power of
contrast. Steady repetitiveness of the instrumentations throughout
the record anchor haunting, and often winding, vocal melodies, lyrical
themes revolve around both optimistic abstraction and stark reality.
These juxtapositions are reinforced by the dual nature of the album itself:
Side A, Shades of Reverie, is driven by a sense of hope plucked into
existence by embers of acoustic guitar, while Side B, Tones of Clarity,
is best defined by dramatic, Bernard Hermann-esque orchestration and
soaring vocal performances.
While the casual listener may be (understandably) distracted by the
graceful marriage between instrumentation and vocal cadence, each
song holds its own poetic merit. Singer and lyricist Sheila Ellis’ masterful
penmanship develops a crucial dimension to the album, rendering “The
Cleansing” a deeply personal, outwardly introspective listen.
Spanning thirty-eight minutes over eight compositions, the entire record
is a warm, bold stroke on an aural canvas, effortlessly moving through
embracing melodies and divine soundscapes

Side A: Shades of Reverie
1. Acquiescence
2. Move With Me
3. Paris, Room 14
4. Scarlet One
Side B: Tones of Clarity
1. The Cleansing
2. Far
3. See Her
4. Autumn Requiem Available from 22.12.2017
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