It’s not often enough that you come across a band who manage to create worlds within their songs, but Luminous Frenzy seem to be a welcome exception to this rule. Beginning with a subtle rattle and gentle strings, ‘Three Cliffs Bay’ immediately paints a picture in the imagination.
In my case, I see a forest which is apparently calm but hectic with hidden life. In the video playing in my head, the camera explores the area as the song goes on, focusing on the miniature universes of the creatures inside. This adventure begins as the vocals, percussion and bass kick in, adding a lullaby-like aspect to the mix. The track is brilliantly ambient throughout, but the somewhat stringy female vocals make it seem unsteady and not as powerful as it otherwise might be. Husky, haunting melodies have been chosen over a sense of vocal conviction, which, to be honest, is probably the more typical choice, but it definitely lends an uneasiness to the song. Beth Gibbons achieved both a fragility and strength in her vocals, and Portishead songs were all the more amazing for it. In order to improve on their otherwise impressive formula, Luminous Frenzy could work on bringing density to the vocals, if not with a single voice, perhaps by adding a second vocalist to the recordings.
On the other hand, perhaps this delicate air is crucial to the creation of a believable universe. Is this a critique on the indeterminacy of the human condition? Maybe not – maybe it’s just a great song. Either way, it definitely works.