eMusic Review 0
Never mind the overloaded guest list — Norah Jones, Beth Orton, Martha Wainwright, that Once guy, Dawn Landes and 4/5 of the National — on Doveman's third proper LP. Thomas Bartlett's breathy vocals are still the centerpiece, drifting through slow-burning synths and hazy harmonies ("Memorize"), wave-breaking riffs and brain-burrowing melodies ("The Cat Awoke"), and drums that stutter and stumble in the path of windswept strings ("From Silence").
None of which should be that surprising. While he's classically trained, Bartlett's always aligned himself with avant-garde artists, including Antony and the Johnsons, Yoko Ono, David Byrne and Laurie Anderson. Not to mention Nico Muhly, a recurring collaborator who brings a spare, sun-stroked chamber pop feel to "Tigers." Speaking of Bartlett's inner circle, frequent stage/studio member Sam Amidon gets a co-writing credit on "Castles," a song that was originally explored on Doveman's previous disc, With My Left Hand I Raise the Dead. It's a fitting closer, bringing the curtain down without distracting from the simple pleasures of the album's other tightly-woven vignettes. And they are deceivingly simple, seeping through your speakers like sand in an hourglass; you can't help but press your ears to the glass.