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Elizabeth Fraser

Moses EP

(Rough Trade; US: 15 Dec 2009; UK: 27 Nov 2009)

Former Cocteau Twins siren Elizabeth Fraser has been silent both on the musical front and in the press in recent years, so her new three-track EP on Rough Trade is quite a pleasant surprise. The title cut, an old recording of indeterminate age created with her partner Damon Reece (Massive Attack) and friend Jake-Drake Brockman, now sees the light of day as a tribute to Brockman, who died in a September 2009 motorcycle accident. Instantly, “Moses” conjures images of Siouxsie and the Banshees’ 1988 hit “Peek-a-Boo” with its hip-hop beat, jazzy phrasings, and dashes of accordion—except it sounds so much better, due to its subtle-and-deft hand. Fraser’s trademark vocals (an ethereal wash with dabs of pixie-ish melody where formless sounds are just as important as words) are always a treat for the ears, and the combination of her voice and the accompaniment is a mesmerizing match. The Indian-tinged Thighpaulsandra remix doesn’t prove compelling, but the Spaceland remix quite possibly improves on the original take, making the song waft in and out with a beautiful delicacy. There’s not much material here, but it’s a delightful peak at what Fraser has been up to as we wait for her long-gestating solo album to finally see the light of day.

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