Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Review: Beth Jeans Houghton & The Hooves Of Destiny

Beth Jeans Houghton & The Hooves Of Destiny – Yours Truly, Cellophane Nose (Mute)
I must stop taking people’s Facebook pages as gospel. Beth Jeans Houghton’s claims “(She) was born in Transylvania to a pack of albino wolves who raised her on chewing tobacco and stuffed clams. Despite they're hospitality, love conquers all and she soon eloped to scotch corner with her shiny new stallion Peter Andre”. I’m sure less than half of that’s true. The mild eccentricities of her biography are more than reflected in her music, a merging of Gothic folk, progressive spurts, Kate Bush-esque orchestrated grandeur and pure showmanship. Live, she certainly looks the part, with a bewitching wardrobe of the weird and wondrous; that she’s able to carry those feelings of magic and spectacle onto her debut full-length recording is both astonishing and admirable.

The album begins with “Sweet Tooth Bird”, with brass and a marching band beat barely settled before Houghton’s remarkable vocal takes control. “Humble Digs” seems far more straightforward, but of course it’s nothing of the sort as the song breaks down into separate, glorious parts. “Dodecahedron” is lush and quite otherworldly as its dream-lyric unfolds. When taken as a whole “Yours Truly, Cellophane Nose” is really quite enchanting, an exquisite journey into a world that isn’t quite there. It’s an album to be lived with and cherished – and records like that don’t come along too often.
Simon M.

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