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Clairvoyants | Your New Boundaries (Badman)
Badman Recording Co's reputation was secured with its two fine solo ventures from Red House Painters' frontman Mark Kozelek in the years when the ill-fated 'Old Ramon' sat shelved and unheard. The label continues to release carefully selected projects, often of telling quality - James William Hindle's eponymous debut, and two albums from acclaimed Canadian songwriter Hayden among them. 'Your New Boundaries' was released early this year with barely any press in Europe at all. It is a shame because it's an album impossible to not fall in love in once heard. The music is best described as pared down rock very much in the Low and Red House Painters vein, but with a distinct jazz leaning that those bands don't possess. Singer and main songwriter Brian Dunn has a classically trained voice that clearly comes across on many of the haunting, angelic songs. He's clearly a unique talent with a lot on his mind, not least how to cope with an end to a long-term relationship. He opens the album proclaiming "That city fucked you up...'' as if he's looking for explanations for the split. Later imploring, "Why can't you say things to calm me down / why don't you do that one thing to reassure me?'' All this on the opener To Reassure which ends beautifully in a crescendo of crooning (all courtesy of Dunn) with horns blaring, breathtaking stuff. All the following pieces are methodically built up with attention to the smallest detail, but they still manage to maintain the sparseness one feel Brian Dunn's otherwordly voice needs and deserves. For Granted is a waltz, Yes, I Waited For A Year is pure old-fashioned acoustic jazz with a magnificent flugelhorn solo by Barry Reise. If you are looking for a beautifully crafted album with a slow-burning restraint to keep you company all through the night, look no further.

Torbjørn Wickman
August 2002