How did you spend your lockdown? Big plans, minimal results?? Yeah, me too…
Not so Estella, it seems she’s been busy adding the finishing touches to not just one but two new releases. Hot on the heels of the excellent Nah… album we now get a treat in the form of this three song e.p from Sapphire and Steel. Estella‘s collaborator this time round is Jørn Åleskjær from the excellent The Loch Ness Mouse so clearly the potential for aural pleasure is high. In contrast to the unsettling menace of their 70s TV inspiration (check it out on YouTube) Sapphire and Steel are here to soothe more than disturb but with just enough grit to stop things drifting off into the ether.
Lead track “Home“‘s New Order-like chime is an instant comforting hug, synths decay and sigh recalling ever so slightly the airy feel of something like Monument by the Sound. “Rumours” is, reassuringly, inspired by Fleetwood Mac and suitably comes on like the Mac‘s dream pop little brother, not so weird really, come on, listen to the full length version of “Sara” and tell me that’s not dream pop… seventies style. It’s a song of intrigue and cocktails, driven by some tightly wound, dare I say, Buckingham-esque guitar. I’m choosing to ignore The Brotherhood of Man backstory reference that introduces third track “Susan“, the pleasure and pain of growing up in 70s England means I can’t go there… in any case this is a song that would be in much more fitting company with Paddy McAloon or maybe Phoenix, floating by on a luminous riff, pausing to showcase Estella‘s soothing 10CC, “I’m Not In Love” style vocal, before diving back in.
And that’s our introduction to the Sapphire and Steel musical universe, just enough for us to feel at home and ready for more. In the meantime my advice would simply be: go back to the beginning, press play and repeat.