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The Gentle Waves is the orchestral-folk, side-project of Belle and Sebastian cellist and singer Isobel Campbell and for those of you out there who can't wait for the follow-up to Fold Your Hands Child, You Walk Like a Peasant, her latest release is the next best thing. Swansong for You is even more hokey than anything ever recorded by B&S, but so what, too much pleasure is to be found here to complain.

The album starts slowly, but quickly picks up speed with the 3rd track "Falling From Grace" whose lively harpsichord accompaniment is nothing less than beautiful. Isobel's voice has a breathy and childlike quality that sounds authentic and never forced. It instead rings with youthful and pleasant naiveté.

Lyrically, the tracks on this album lack the darker bite of many B&S tunes. On "Pretty Things" for instance the little girl thing can become somewhat tiring:

Do you like pretty things?
Would you caress broken wings?
To truly smile, to face the day
Do you like pretty things?
Fortunately, this is also the strongest song on the record making the lyrics easily forgivable. It is reminiscent of Astrud Gilberto at her Samba-singing best. Other highlights are the up-tempo (for folk) "Sisterwoman" and "Loretta Woman" which could be an outtake from Fold Yor Hands with its subtle piano fills and melancholy mood.

The strings on this deceivingly slick production, give each track a very smooth and breezy feel, usurping even B&S in mellowness. And no I can't comment on the first record by this band because I haven't listened to it. I hear it is even better. Regardless, Swansong For You is a pleasant if slight record that will fit in nicely with the B&S canon.


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