Milenasong - Seven Sisters

George Bass 31/01/2007

Rating: 4/5

Like Third Eye Foundation, Amon Tobin, Hood and co, but tired of the cramp from sulking? You're in luck. Sabrina Melina's first album proper after her Can't Tape Forever 10" is a treat for those who like their CDs to shiver, but secretly hanker after something gooey to snuggle up with. Making the most of the forty-six minutes she's set herself here, she gracefully slaloms her way round the folkier flags of the autumnal electronica genre to create a soundscape both campfire cryptic and poppy as a skip through a Remembrance Day meadow. From the woodland warbling of Nightlost Trains to the gypsy shyness of Lily Wyatt, as naively twee as Isobell Campbell's Gentle Waves LPs, the young Sabrina proves that she's more in touch with witchcraft than Melissa Joan Hart will ever be. That might deter the scientists among you, but don't get out of your pram: there's still enough fidgets and bleeps here to get you through your Autechre cold turkey. Standby pours Frog Pocket's homegrown gaelictronica into the hands of a gospel guitar fourpiece, and How Ode - arguably one of the strangest "songs" of recent years - is bathed in a hieroglyphic wooziness that sounds like an anemic watching The Magic Roundabout from a decompression chamber.

Don't let the molecular malarkey stump you, though; if things start to get a bit too boffin-exclusive, Melinasong's yearning wordplay brings things nicely back down to earth. Her delicate but smoky style isn't too dissimilar to that of Emma Pollock (she of neglected indie pioneers The Delgados), and keeps the fleshy ticker behind the more digital elements alive and pumping. Layered against the ticklish banjo shenanigans of Thirty, she'd no doubt make The Notwist pink with pride. Collaborators are brought to good use too, in particular Tord Løvik's backing vocals on the summery mothlight of Love Feel You Do, recalling the bygone days of Aidan Moffat's duets with Adele Bethel. Album endpiece All This Beautiful Light might not exactly push the envelope, but it sure as hell seals it in style by delivering on the promise of its title. A gorgeously lo-fi swansong rimmed with vintage Boards Of Canada radar lullabies and some guest whispering, it makes for a spookily sweet coda and demonstrates how the sprites that crank the quaint precision of Sabrina Milena's imagination give rise to some serene cerebral ghoulishness. There's a Willow The Wisp for every Loki out there, it seems. Experiencing this album in one whack is like taking a trip on a ghost train - the one from The Machinist, that is - and unlike the tube station namechecked by the album's cover art, it's somewhere you can't get to with an Oyster Card.