The 11-minute epic that’s at the heart of ‘Daughters Of The Sky’ is a distillation of Bamboo’s ambitious sound. In part a homage to ’70s freak folk, ‘East Of The Sun, West Of The Moon’ also alludes to new age ambience with its combination of medieval singing and intricate layers of electro-acoustic instrumentation.
Drawing influences from the Far East, the track’s delicate folk cadences are unexpected given that its originators are Nick Carlisle of synth-punk outfit Peepholes and Rachel Horwood of post-punk trio Trash Kit.
Reuniting for the third time, the pair have swapped the storybook concept of 2017’s ‘The Dragon Flies Away’ for recurrent themes in natural life cycles (“Branches dancing, bud stems growing, fibres swaying, arms unfurling,” as Horwood puts it on ‘The Deku Tree’). These chime with the crystal shop aesthetic of ‘Off World Colony’, which mixes contemporary beats with hazy synth-flutes, and ‘Memories All At Once’, which sounds like Dubstar without a hook.
This tendency to drift along on a bed of choral style harmonies, electric banjo and wistful samples is counterbalanced on a couple of occasions with sharper focus. Opening track ‘Diamond Springs’ uses a glockenspiel to update classic ’80s synth-pop while ‘A World Is Born’ matches its sunny, upbeat disposition with call and response saxophone lines.
The album ends on a curiously inconclusive note, with the 45-second instrumental ‘Tenebrae’ sketching out an introduction before it floats away to meet its younger sibling in the ethereal sky.