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A Magazine for Sheffield

Sun's Signature Sun's Signature

Elizabeth Fraser returns after a 13-year absence with partner Damon Reece to release a five-track EP that captures the quintessential sunlit beauty and dark shadows of pastoral England.

Released: 18 June 2022
Sun's Signature

As you'd probably expect from two musical legends with the intensity of Elizabeth Fraser (Cocteau Twins) and Damon Reece (Spiritualized), the genesis of Sun's Signature has its roots back in 2012. At the behest of Meltdown curator ANOHNI, the plan was for their music to be the centrepiece of the event, and this request was duly delivered in the form of embryonic versions of these songs that secured the belief and confidence in pursuing the project to fruition.

Ten years later, this carefully nurtured five-track EP is a perfect example of slow but steady wins the race. Opener ‘Underwater’ takes us through the opening of a window onto rapture, with Fraser's soaring vocal offering a false prelude to the juddering industrial sounds that ensue. While musical battle continues unabated, Fraser's bittersweet vocal yearns for righteousness but finds only wistful regret.

Standout ‘Golden Air’ has Fraser's beautiful vocal floating effortlessly above Steve Hackett's (ex-Genesis) glorious 12-string guitar, before a shuffling undertow picks up the march to a 1970s prog explosion of a chorus. There's a joyous beauty and mystical, emotional tempestuousness evident in the longest track ‘Apples’, with a haunting, madrigal flow to the symbiosis between coruscating baroque guitar and doom-laden bass pedals (take a bow again, Mr Hackett). This takes the song off in a leftfield direction to a hidden secret lyrical coda that you feel doesn't want to be shared.

After this pastoral drama, the EP deserves a simple acoustic closer, and ‘Make Lovely The Day’ delivers that calming balm to great effect. With a stellar cast including Hackett, Thighpaulsandra (Julian Cope), Cook/Lee (Massive Attack) and Martin Shellard (Spiritualized) the musicianship ebbs and flows like liquid gold – all while Fraser's transcendent voice hovers omnipresent and angelically above.

There's an Alice in a not-so-nice-wonderland, off-kilter Englishness vibe to this EP, which ties the project together sonically and lyrically. Beguiling and enchanting with a Lovecraftian hint of menace, the project is crying out for live representation. I can't wait. But I guess I'll have to.

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