Dusted Reviews

Movietone - The Sand and the Stars

today features
reviews charts
labels writers
info donate

Search by Artist

Sign up here to receive weekly updates from Dusted

email address

Recent Reviews

Dusted Reviews

Artist: Movietone

Album: The Sand and the Stars

Label: Drag City

Review date: Jan. 13, 2004

Taking a cue from early English forebears Pentangle, The Incredible String Band, and Fairpoint Convention, Bristol's pastoral psych folkies, Movietone give the old guard a run for their money. Though the original hype around the band centered around Kate Wright's and other members involvement in Flying Saucer Attack as well as Third Eye Foundation, their first two records (Day and Night and The Blossom Filled Streets) saw the band shake off the predetermined attitudes of their influences and carve their own niche.

Movietone has slowly taken a more blissful and traditional acoustic route, bringing exotic instrumentation and horn arrangements to the proceedings. As they explain in the liner notes on The Sand and the Stars, the album originated on a beach under the stars and later was finished on a coastal path illuminated by a lighthouse. These unique notes help put the mellow and sedate ambience of the album into perspective

The Sand and Stars does exude a myriad of moods both subtle and overt. Mournful, sea chantey-like ballads ("Pale Tracks") conjure up a sadness that would do Shame McGowan's "Summer in Siam" proud, while traditional Spanish classical guitar work is on display during "In Mexico". Each of the 11 songs here acts as a distinctive satellite, held in fragile orbit by the band's deft songwriting.

The record does suffer from a few setbacks when the group’s reach surpasses its grasps. The ramshackle arrangements on a number of songs come off a bit cluttered. Still, on "Snow Is falling" Movietone show that their naiveté can at times produce unfettered and unrestricted moments of tranquility. Revolving around a jazz-noir double bass figure, the instrumentation lends itself perfectly to watching celestial bodies on a brisk October evening.

Much like contemporaries Ghost, Damon & Naomi and the most of the Terrastock-nation, Movietone seem to be moving the ideas, structure and possibilities of psych folk beyond traditional, cagey boundaries and stifling restrictions. The Sand and the Stars has the ability to fill the listless winter night as a soporific aid or a harbinger of deeper thoughts.

By Paul Burress

Read More

View all articles by Paul Burress

Find out more about Drag City

©2002-2011 Dusted Magazine. All Rights Reserved.