Ma Fleur( プラスチックケース)
TCO return with their first full-length since 2002's "Everyday". "Ma Fleur" was written as the soundtrack to a specially commissioned screenplay for an imagined film, which may or may not yet be made. Dealing with themes of loss and love, "Ma Fleur" is fertile ground for Jason Swinscoe's brand of raw-emotion music making. If the mood is melancholy, Swinscoe and company manage to make it an ultimately uplifting experience, perhaps in the end more about the love you find than the love you lose. Deluxe packaging: CD digipak with six photo postcard inserts and double LP 150 gram gatefold vinyl with full-color printed sleeves.
Cinematic Orchestra's fourth studio album, Ma Fleur soars from start to finish. The disc opens with the all-too-brief "That Home" which showcases a new guest vocalist brought into the Orchestra clan, Montreal native Patrick Watson whose Coldplay-meets-Jeff-Buckley fragility fits inside the folds of the sparse melody perfectly; his contribution to the sweeping soundscape of closer "To Build a Home" proves equally spectacular, adding an increased vulnerability and richness to the music. "Time and Space," featuring enigmatic Lamb frontwoman Lou Rhodes, offers the perfect combination of vocal ache with the lushness of cello and violin, eventually expanding into a full contemporary-classical-meets-downtempo vibe. Former contributing vocalist Fontella Bass once again brings her timeless soul to the mix ("Breathe" and "Familiar Ground") which will delight longtime fans of the U.K. band. Fans of Cinematic Orchestra's more upbeat hip-hop and jazz numbers from previous releases will discover that there is nothing especially uptempo on this disc; in certain respects, the evenness of Zero 7 discs may provide a more apt comparison, contextually. While that may frustrate some, the power of Ma Fleur from beginning to end is a holistic package of sensuality and softness that makes for a nearly perfect, perfectly timeless release. --Denise Sheppard