No knights or Pythonesque nonsense here as Collins delivers a sweetly sad third.
The North Carolinan’s gorgeous third album is a simple feast of quality songwriting, along with some great musicianship and lovely performances. Opening with the sunny shuffle ‘Jenny and James’ the template is set from the off. Despite different narrators to several of the songs the palette is reasonably sparing. Acoustic instrumentation, a solid rhythm and some lovely lead and backing vocal interplay. ‘Under My Fingers’ is exemplary in this regard as the two vocals snake round each other to great effect as the haunting cello underpins the melody. There’s a big fat streak of melancholy running through the album which suits Collins’ voice and the arrangements tend to head for the blue rather than the red but this is not a criticism, know your strengths and Collins certainly does as ‘Cocoon’ and ‘The Trees’ demonstrate.Pick of the bunch is the title track with the return of the cello to emphasise the mood. A sweet, swinging tune with delicate currents and mournful intensity.
The album is perhaps one paced apart from the wiry ‘Sugar Skull‘ ( possibly the only track that doesn’t really work) but it is otherwise a measured and stately pace which means it avoids the trap of death by boredom. Classy stuff and recommended.