Snowbird – Moon

Bella Union is an independent record label that’s home to some of the most diverse and interesting acts on the alternative music scene. With a line-up that has included at one time or another the likes of John Grant, Fleet Foxes, Explosions in the Sky, I Break Horses, Midlake, the Walkmen and Fionn Regan, they are a label synonymous with quality acts.To that illustrious roster, we can now add Snowbird, a partnership between Bella Union label boss Simon Raymonde and American chanteuse Stephanie Dosen. Raymonde wrote and played bass with legendary 80s/90s Scottish sonic pioneers The Cocteau Twins, a band not often given the credit they deserve for the indelible influence they had on alternative music at the time and subsequent to their split in 1997.

Dosen has released a couple of solo albums and collaborated with acts of the calibre of Massive Attack and the Chemical Brothers. Together they have produced Moon, an album of luminous beauty and one that reveals a little more with every listen.

With Moon, Snowbird invite us to enter an enchanted world populated with foxes and owls, ghosts and wishes, a nocturnal realm that comes alive when the hush of night descends. The music is exceptionally pretty; these predominantly piano led compositions provide the perfect backdrop for Dosen’s beautiful voice. Comparisons with the Cocteau Twins will be made; for the most part, they don’t stack up. The heavily effected guitars and booming drum machine employed by the Cocteau Twins are nowhere to be heard.

Snowbird cast their spell with more subtle weave of sound – piano chords are left suspended in mid-air, fragments of melody flutter hither and thither, and Dosen’s layered, whimsical voice binding it all together. ‘All Wishes Are Ghosts’ is utterly beguiling; ‘Charming Birds From Trees’ and ‘Amelia’ tremble with a delicate beauty.

Raymonde wisely recognises where the strength of this music lies and for the most part keeps the music sparse and uncluttered.
There are times when you wish for even more space – a song like ‘Where Foxes Hide’ sounds almost over fussy when compared to ‘Porcelain’, the perfect crystallisation of what we imagine represents the Snowbird sound –ethereal, mysterious, quietly majestic.

There is always a risk with an album like this that it becomes cloyingly pretty, sickly sweet, but Moon continues to seduce even after repeated plays.
We can never have enough of music as heavenly as this – with Moon, Snowbird conjure magic from the midnight air.

Pure bliss.

3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)