Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Blood, Looms & Blooms

Bristol is back in a big way this year with the return of Portishead, Tricky, Massive Attack and now Leila, who's strange and wonderful new LP Blood, Looms & Blooms was released today on Warp.

From The Guardian:
It's been eight years since Leila Arab, Iranian-born producer and erstwhile member of Björk's touring band, released her second album, a gap caused in part by the loss of both parents. Judging from the texture of Blood, Looms and Blooms, she has been watching a lot of movies. Carplos's tense, layered synths evoke a John Carpenter soundtrack; Lush Dolphins bathes in the indigo magic of an underwater fairytale; and Mettle, with its bubbling undercurrents and wounded roars of guitar, sounds like a vast horror-movie beast rumbling through a sewer. This has an enthralling, dream-like quality of its own, so it's no surprise to encounter two of Britain's drowsiest singers, Terry Hall and Martina Topley Bird, crossing paths like sleepwalkers on the closing Why Should I? The listener emerges unsettled and intrigued.

From Cyclic Defrost Magazine:
Leila’s Blood, Looms and Blooms is like an invocation to the senses – a hand that reaches out from the complex, gnarled roots adorning the album cover to pull you into the realms of playful imagination. Leila Arab’s debut for Warp, her first release in over seven years, excites in its lushness and challenges in its diversity. A measured, perfectly crafted progression from fantasy-like beginnings through to a deeper, darker midsection is Leila’s key achievement, managing to tie in a range of guest vocalists seamlessly across a range of styles...

Leila’s sound is so incredibly full – which is in part due to the exquisite production. Every nook and cranny of the aural space is filled to bursting with intense detail. It is there with the faint sound of a piano reverberating through an expansive hall on ‘Young Ones’, a yearning that lingers long after it is enveloped by a rowdy applause. Again it rears its head on ‘Mollie’ as tweaks and twinges whirl their way to an exquisite climax. Finally, the delicate duet by Martina Topley Bird and Terry Hall on ‘Why Should I’ brings Blood, Looms and Blooms to a close, and with it, an intense desire to revisit Leila’s fantasy world all over again.

[The big, buzzy opener Mollie, churning single Deflect and feedback-laden psychedelic cover of Norwegian Wood are my personal favorites here.]

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