CD Reviews
Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Crystal Bright and the Silver Hands "Muses and Bones"

Independent, 2012


According to her press release, Crystal Bright's songs incorporate her educational background in anthropology and ethnomusicology, and her experiences of playing in groups from mariachi, Chinese, Balinese, Gamelan, Samba and even Ugandan ensembles, so perhaps you can guess how varied, and at times thrilling this record is.

So where to begin? Words that come to mind listening to this are, (deep breath..) carnivals, mariachi, Kate Bush, musicals, Tim Burton, Goldfrapp, burlesque, Calexico, Eastern Europe gypsies, Gogol Bordello, Jazz, Devotchka, old timey, cabaret, fables, dark fairy tales and a hundred others, really.  I could go on. It is a very intriguing record indeed and almost impossible to categorise, but hopefully you’ve got an idea of what this may sounds like.

Lyrically dark but strong and diverse, the voice that sings them wonderful; it soars, especially on 'Adungu', it admonishes on opener 'Especially Your Mother' and on 'Toy Hammer', well, you could swear you‘ve seen the film it’s from, could even swear it was animated and had skeletons in it. It’s a record for freaks and thinkers, healers and hippies, the cool and the curious and for people who just want a little more, or just want something, even if they don‘t know what it is exactly.

The playing is majestic, the atmospheres convincing and compelling and the overall sound is simply marvellous. At times dark, at times playful, its mysterious and beguiling and one can only assume Tim Burton hasn’t heard her yet, or she would already be known, at least to fans of his. A splendid release. It's hard to believe she's unsigned. I wish her all the luck in the world.

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