Best album in years from British eccentric
Anyone still listening after 2001’s disappointing Blowback must be wincing in anticipation of a new album from this newly LA-based maverick. Thankfully, Vulnerable benefits hugely from two major developments: an appropriate vocal foil in the form of Italian vocalist Constanza Francaville, and a set of 13 avant-pop gems evocative of Pere Ubu and Talking Heads. For the first time since 1996’s Pre-Millennium Tension, highlights reveal themselves instead of forcing the listener to pan for them, and include the killer doom-funk of “How High”, an inspired cover version of XTC’s “Dear God”, and, most of all, the astonishing “My Mermaid”, a gentle, slow-burning sunset of a song. A varied and effective collection of subtly shaded poptones, with the occasional moment of characteristic grit.