Lady Sleep CD

Lady Sleep

CD/DLP, Kitty-Yo 2005

foxy digitalis

back If you ever wondered what Icelandic torch singer Jonsi Birgisson of Sigur Ros (or Radiohead's Thom Yorke, for that matter) would sound like if they sang in English, you'd have to go all the way to ...Germany and check out "Dying" and "Yeah, Eventually She Goes" respectively from this 27-year-old's third release, a concept album dedicated to Snow White (hence the title) about "longing for a disembodied state" through explorations of love, death, anaesthesia and lunacy. These gorgeous romantic ballads and latenight lullabies ooze warmth and melancholy, bolstered by string-drenched arrangements courtesy Doron Burstein, with violins, violas and cellos intricately weaving patchwork quilts of love around Hecker's multi-instrumentation.

At times there are liberal doses of Mojave 3 wafting through the room, particularly on tracks like "Summer Days in Bloom" and the heavy breathing cloud-floater "Help Me," which, along with "Snow" are perfectly suited for cuddly nights in front of a warm fireplace watching the snow blanket the world outside.

Following a lengthy classical piano/violin intro, Hecker's mournful, stratospheric vocals (as much a cross between Boy George and Tanita Tikarim as the aforementioned Birgisson and Yorke), turn "Birch" into an emotional, heartfelt yearning, while his tinkling music box synth on "Anaesthesia" adds an amusing, playful touch to the sombre proceedings. It is also one of several sickly sweet, romantic, heartstring-tuggers (often penned by the likes of Elton John, Sting or Randy Newman) that are perfectly suited for Hollywood love stories and usually result in Best Song Oscar nominations.

I promise you won't hear a sadder lyric this year than "I walked to my own grave/And watched the sun go down" (from "Daze of Nothing"), and the swaying, heartbreakingly joyful "Everything Inside Me Is Ill" is an immediate candidate for the most popular wedding song of 2005. And I recommend every parent learn the lyrics to the title track, the most warm 'n' fuzzy lullabye I’ve heard in ages, guaranteed to send those prococious little tykes to Never Never Land faster than you can say Peter Pan.

Fans of Nick Drake, Radiohead and Sigur Ros in particular will enjoy the year's first perfect pop masterpiece and the one to beat for the most romantic album of the year.