I wasn’t expecting much from this record by looking at its cover. I know you’re not supposed to judge that, but in this case, it resulted in a very pleasant surprise. I figured Niobe’s fifth studio album would be typical singer-songwriter fare. There certainly is an element of that, but it is undercut by sample happy freak-folktronica. Much of it is slow but moving, minimal yet dense, loosely jazzy, boss nova, and indie rock weirdness, with occasional flourished into house and camp lounge. Guests to this bizarre garden party include DJ Olive, who adds a nice beat to his eponymous track, and David Grubbs of Gastr del Sol, who brings some avant-garde organ down for an off-kilter duet. The focus is mostly on surreal soundscapes and lyricism to match, as if Björk got Syd Barrett out of his bomb-shelter before he died and sat him behind a console. Bring the tea, and Blackbird’s Echo will deliver you a mad romp of a good time.
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