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Byrne | Slowly and Gloriously (Rocket Girl)
London four-piece Byrne create intensely subdued yet outreaching and welcoming music on their six-track debut, poised, uniquely, somewhere between gloomy Americana and slightly trippy, crooner-paced Madchester. On a song like Sleeping Giant they sound as if The Jesus & Mary Chain decided to go all breezy and happy on us, while the haunting Embers, from which the album title is taken, is an eerie epic in slo-core disguise ?? or perhaps it's the other way around? Compulsory bonus tracks aside, the closing Drink All Day mines Jeff Buckley without the Led Zep-leanings, as seen through a haze of smoke and slight delays, while Tidal Wave is a modern-day take on the Kinks, and, of course, it sounds nothing at all like Blur. Enigmatic, image-laden lyrics combine with a late-night idiosyncratic approach to sentimental pop music and the outcome is something wearily confusing, lovingly drifting. And while several songs reach for a climax that never quite materialises, 'Slowly and Gloriously' hints of better things to come.

Stein Haukland
CWAS #11 - Autumn 2002

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