New 4AD act picks up where This Mortal Coil left off. Features This Mortal Coil contributing vocalist Louise Rutkowski with ex-Levitation/ ex-Dark Star bassist Lawrence O'Keefe, string arrangements by cellist Audrey Reilly... more » and occasional drums & saxophone by Ritchie Thomas. Eight tracks, including a cover of Gus Gus' 'Is Jesus Your Pal'. 1998 release.« less
New 4AD act picks up where This Mortal Coil left off. Features This Mortal Coil contributing vocalist Louise Rutkowski with ex-Levitation/ ex-Dark Star bassist Lawrence O'Keefe, string arrangements by cellist Audrey Reilly and occasional drums & saxophone by Ritchie Thomas. Eight tracks, including a cover of Gus Gus' 'Is Jesus Your Pal'. 1998 release.
A Reader | Portsmouth, NH United States | 03/13/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Oh my god - the previous post by A music fan from College Station, TX United States hit the nail perfectly. Really. If your adolescence was soothed by Cocteau Twins, This Mortal Coil (of Filigree and Shadow fame especially) and you are still a searcher ... please consider Arvo Part and Gorecki's Symphony No. 3. There you will find the true coming of age that producer Ivo hinted at in the younger mist-dimmed 4 AD days long past that Hope Blister recalls, however hazily. (The Gorecki brings bitter tears to my eyes, so I can only spin it once a year - if that! You owe it to yourself ...) But Smile's OK is ... well, ok. For those grasping for 4 AD straws, it recalls the "music for people who don't like to go out" days of the best of the label. But it is also pungently reminiscent of the worst of the label - the adolescent self-indulgence and "drama" that the later This Mortal Coil veered toward in "Blood" and even "It'll End in Tears," some of which was brilliant - some of which was fatally self-involved. If you're just pining for the good old days of all-black wardrobes, moon-tans and cardigans (be honest now), you'd do better to re-spin "filigree and shadow" or the Twins' "Treasure" or "Victorialand." Still, I bought this album as an act of loyalty and gratitude - I love the drone of "Is Jesus Your Pal?" and the "strength of strings" in "Spider and I" (where else are you going to find songs so "It'll End in Tears" being recorded - thanks Ivo!!) and I love the melancholy guitar and processed vocals in "Sweet Unknown" - ignoring the high-schoolish premise of the song ("For a while our world seemed right..." c'mon, it's a bit self-involved and Tragic) but I absolutely applaud any label recording totally un-mainstream creatively dark-bright serious-poetic songs to one's self with hardly a drummer in the house. Oh whatever, go ahead, buy this release - "Spider and I" makes it worth it for any true This Mortal Coil fan. You are - you are not - you are - alone. And that's the point, right?"
One of my desert island selections
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It's been a few years now since Ivo has recorded this work of art, but it still finds its way onto my stereo at least once a week, sometimes more. The balance of extreme sadness and radiant hope is what all new music composers should strive for, but few succeed.This album is as brilliant as David Sylvian's "Gone To Earth" and Joy Division's "Closer". Hi art (although in a somewhat gray scale) at its best."
A Disappointing 4AD Project Release
Lucius Kwok | Saint Davids, PA United States | 10/18/2002
(1 out of 5 stars)
"After hearing the the beautiful yet dark arrangements of original and cover songs on the This Mortal Coil project, I was expecting something as good on this CD. Unfortunately, I was disappointed. The original Slowdive rendition of "Dagger" was already quite melancholic, but on this CD, the song is turned into a funeral dirge which drags on for nearly six minutes. As a whole, the album suffers from the sameness of a bleak soundscape that sounds like it's been painted black, for the purpose of covering up a lack of effort to make any instrumental arrangement for the songs."
More Blister Than Hope
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I remember first hearing 4AD music during the late 80's when it was difficult to find "deep" music even within the alternative genre. I loved the use of strings and the soaring vocals on Hope Blister's previous incarnation- This Mortal Coil. Louise Rutkowski provides beautiful vocals on smiles..ok and the beautiful strings and ethereal sounds are still there. Having been away for awhile, I guess I am just more skeptical of what I now perceive as all art and no substance. In particular, the song choices have lyrics that fit in the following categories: utterly depressing, unintelligible or vaguely antireligious. I used to wrestle with the meaning behind Ivo-Watts bands and now I think I realize that the philosophy is: there is no deeper meaning. The value is in the impression it creates upon you.I couldn't disagree more. Having found deeper roots in my Christian faith, I can realize that there is time for somber reflection, which TMC and Hope Blister provide, but there is also real hope available in this world. If you like music that will stretch your soul, I would recommend Arvo Part's Alina and Henryk Gorecki's Symphony No.3."