CD + DVD - $7.00 (
"Short Stories", the second album from Lilium, is a co-operation between Pascal Humbert and Jean-Yves Tola from Sixteen Horsepower. It features guest appearances from David Eugene Edwards (making a full Sixteen Horsepower lineup for a song) & Billy Conway (Morphine). This Smooch repress also includes a bonus dvd of "Short Stories" mixed in surround sound! A prettier (though still spare) sensibility permeates "Short Stories"- along with (gasp!) vocals. Another milestone in the epic 16 HP/Woven Hand story!
"This here is record number two from Lilium, and is a slight departure from the growling, rumbling, creepy sinister-folk of their previous record. Fear not, there's still plenty of atmosphere, rickety campfire strum, and moody darkness, it's just much smoother and it's a bit more traditionally pretty. Humbert has recruited his 16HP bandmate Jean-Yves Tola for this record making this essentially 2/3 Sixteen Horsepower, so to a certain degree you have a rough idea of what this sounds like.
The big change is the vocals. Or should I say the vocalists. That's right vocalists. Unlike their instrumental debut, which was sort of more 'sound' than 'song', they really flex their songwriting muscles on Short Stories and craft some gorgeously dark and melancholy pop songs, sung beautifully, and swathed in that dark hazy atmosphere we know and love so well. Maybe the nicest surprise is vocalist Kal Calhoone, a dead ringer for Cat Power's Chan Marshall, but with a little PJ Harvey swagger thrown in. And PJ Harvey is kind of an apt comparison for some of these tunes, smoldering and moody, emotional and urgent, with Calhoone's husky whisper weaving tales of sorrow and despair.
16HP's David Eugene Edwards sings on one song and since that basically makes it Sixteen Horsepower, it might just be the strongest cut on the record, as good as anything they've ever recorded as a proper band. The rest of the record follows the same brambly path, with lush, and dreamy, slightly doomy tableaus, fingerpicked guitars, shuffling percussion, wheezing accordions, rumbling cellos, organs, slippery slide guitar, raspy, drawled vocals, and heavily reverbed pianos, totally mesmerising and sweetly melodic. Very reminsicent of Black Heart Procession, Calexico, Low and American Music Club. Highly recommended!"
- Aquarius Records
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David Eugene Edwards