Yours Truly, Cellophane Nose, really is as strange as it sounds. It fuses operatic vocals, with time changes and strange stories, culminating in a diverse and yet ultimately engaging offering. It’s odd, in the same way Regina Spektor’s early work was, which though at times leaves you wondering what on earth is going on, in the end only seems to draw you in more. It’s clear Beth and co are pedantic. The ever changing melodies, time signatures and vocal delivery could easily slip to become something of a horrible mess, but despite its disparity both within and between songs, it is executed with such ease that at times the change occurs so quickly, it’s only noticed as an afterthought.
Whether it’s the pounding rhythm of Sweet Tooth Bird, or Dodecahedron which conjures up kaleidoscopic images, the album fuses intricate with obscure. Even on the likes of The Barely Skinny Bone Tree which opens with a simple haunting vocal and where things are left simpler, there’s still an element of the extraordinary and though folky in sound, it’s still worlds apart from more mainstream offerings of this genre.
In short the album reminds me of being drunk, at the stage where everything feels both heightened and yet equally hazy. On her blog she writes ‘I want to use my ears to take in words, stolen or otherwise, I want to eat music, each note and each melody every one beat of a drum’, and it’s clear from her album that not only does she already do this, but she then manages to mix them up and regurgitate them in the form of songs, which in turn force the listener to equally pay attention to every microscopic part of its whole.
So no complaints then? Well, actually despite its precision I can’t help but notice the hole where I Will Return I Promise should be. Sadly, this rousing anthemic song has been left off the album and whilst in every other way it’s quintessentially flawless I can’t help but feel it’s just that tiny bit incomplete with this omission. That being said, the latter is many senses mainstream by comparison, and would probably only serve to mark as the comedown from a trip in the weird and wonderful world of Beth’s musical mind.