Damselfly, Sussex’s socio-cultural weathercock, returns to Smikkelbaard with possibly his most romantic work.

The titles are tougher and you could say the cover has a dark air to it: we’re given to think that it’s a parody of English Country Garden Cosy. Without the Fanny or the Tutti Frutti. No fox and hounds oven gloves here and England’s rose turned sooty black with foul prospect. As with many Damselfly things, we have to delve into the whole package; for one the titles are ultra-suggestive, half sentences that act as psychike grid references. And for its part the music full of riffs and hooks and intermezzo passages that act as open doors for the listener to push through.

Determined route marches like (the all-too-short) ‘Come Fallow Lands, Come Fallen Leaf’ and incredibly beautiful soundscapes like ‘Let It Flood…’ and ‘Sub Rosa’ are brooding affairs, post rave elegies that soar high as a buzzard on a current and draw on Sussex’s reputation as a county of ghosts. Now and again we get a touch of Philip Glass’s modus operandi (‘Mermaid Cafe Crow Blues’) with a rural twist. One final thing: I wonder if Damselfly and fellow Smikkelbaardier Chlorine are holding the magnetic ends of a hitherto unseen leyline between NE and SE England? Time they did, to shake this country out of its spiritual torpor.

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