Reviews

Crystal Bright & the Silver Hands
Album: Muses & Bones
Label: Self Released
Tracks: 13
Website: http://www.crystalbrightandthesilverhands.com

From its rollicking, almost ska basslines, to the accordion accompaniment and Ms Bright's dramatic, showy vocals, Muses & Bones makes a noise that's nigh-on impossible to pin down. One minute it's sashaying down by the Seine, the next it's in a Brixton blues club, then a Weimar cabaret or playing footsie with Leigh Bowery while watching the Cockettes deconstruct 60s politics in a 'Frisco dive.

And that's just in the opening trio of Especially Your Mother, Drowned Out and The Misplaced Zygote: Down the Wrong Chimney, which cries out to the imagined union of Scott Walker and Kate Bush.

Expect to find Crystal trying to get her Silver Hands on you in the darker reaches of some sprawling festival long after the headline acts have been packed off back to their comfy hotels. This is art cabaret rather than raucous rabble rousing, all tinged with the minor chord changes and hints of vocal melancholy that allowed Bowie to break out of his crooner-as-clown cul-de-sac of the late-60s and carve himself a slice of the moonage daydream.

At its best - the tethered opening of In December, the ballad Today and the wavering ethno-clash of Adungu - the record oozes the kind of exotic plurality memorably harnessed by mainstream acts like Madness and Damon Albarn in recent years. If the Silver Hands can shake off the sense of novelty they could be on to something truly potent.

Nick Churchill
www.thegranvillechambers.co.uk