Always  – The Blue Hour (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

The_Blue_Hour_-_Always_(cover)Nostalgia, by its very definition, is not the way forward. But music, as we all know, is a cyclical process and so past musical glories naturally find their way into the new musical visions spun by later generations, it is the way of things and it always has been. The art is to reference rather than plunder, point rather than pastiche, evoke rather than emulate and that is what The Blue Hour do perfectly.

Always joins dots between such lush sounds as Mercury Rev’s strange ethereality, the Cure’s dark undercurrents, The Banshees creeping menace and a whole raft of 4AD icons such as Dead Can Dance, house band This Mortal Coil and of course the warped celestial fuzz of Cocteau Twins. But if these are the musical cornerstones, The Blue Hour fills in the space between with music entirely of their own crafting.
They blend ambient washes with melancholic electronica (melantronic?) haunted lucid dreamscapes with noirish, post-folk richness, neon futurism with subdued and ancient primal screams and warped dance floor heartbeats with cinematic grandeur. They deftly thread eastern vibes through western structures in the perfect clash of oriental spice and occidental pastoralism. The Blue Hour are arch-dream weavers whose almost narcotic backdrops are the perfect structure to hang such rich and emotive vocals, ones which at times sound like lost studio sessions by ambient music’s first lady, Kate Bush, slowed down and blissed out and the result is nothing less than a future classic of the dream-pop canon.

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