Golden Sea

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With the seemingly relentless and popular stream of Scandinavian literature and films hitting our shores of late it only seems natural that these should be complemented with a musical equivalent. Gritty, pitch- perfect novels by Stieg Larsson and Jo Nesbo have been troubling the book shelves of millions of crime lovers, whereas those seeking a more thought- provoking vampire flick than the benign and soulless Twilight franchise could sink their teeth into Let the Right One In; or even the Hollywood re- imagining Let Me In (for those who just can’t get their head around subtitles, or words, in fact). So to partner those snowy filmscapes and cities dusted lightly with just a touch of alienation and dreamy romance we now have our soundtrack. The ghostly octaves of Anna Bronsted are a perfect autumnal accompaniment to these pictures and words, embodying a sense of loss for summer passed and the stark, bare winter to come. The Danish band’s second album is lavish in its layers of near- classical instrumentation, and a perfect platform for Bronsted to soar, as if from a mountain peak, and yet too delicate to cause an avalanche in the valleys below. Songs such as ‘Garden Grow’ and ‘In The Lowlands’ have almost chart- troubling choruses, but are just ‘odd’ enough to be unlikely to puncture the mainstream. Opener ‘The Departure’, and ‘Seven Wild Horses’, on the other hand, are bleak whispered vignettes that provide a haunting meditation on loneliness and the quest for belonging (‘pack your bags tonight we’ll take off’). Highlights include the otherworldly ‘The Burial’ (‘the deer lead me softly through the veils’) and the heartbreaking, almost trance-like closer ‘The Dark Red Roses’ where Bronsted’s fragile, glass- like vocals, seem on the verge of shattering into a million pieces with every drum beat. A delightful and beguiling album which is much more cohesive than comparative releases by the rightly lauded Beach House, and one which will help fill in that ever widening chasm left by The Cocteau Twins. Their garden might be a broken one but the pieces make for a thrilling tapestry.