Brighton belle and multi media artiste Elizabeth Walking, aka Gazelle Twin, has been described as a dream weaver. However on her impressive debut album The Entire City, named after a Max Ernst painting, she deals more in the darker side of the brain's sleeping state. If you like your music serious, dark and intense then Liz is your girl. She channels the ghostly spirits of the trip hop pioneers into a bewitching, beguiling brew that shivers the soul and frightens the children. It's melancholic music that aches, it's music for the economic meltdown. If you're looking for x factor fake frivolity then you've come to the wrong place. The world is a dark and frightening place and Gazelle Twin is here with the soundtrack.
The album opens with title track, ‘The Entire City’ an instrumental which sets the album’s tone, taking the listener on a trip through a strange and frightening land. With synths that sound like they’ve been carved out of ice it’s an ominous, oppressive track that will surely be adorning a dark and edgy thriller soon. At the opposite end of the spectrum is ‘I Am Shell I Am Bone’. With its multi tracked vocal it sounds like the choir that greets you at the gates of heaven. ‘Fight or Flight’ is a curio, with treated vocals that sound like the noises in the head of a medium at a well attended séance. Not my favourite track on the album but a perfect demonstration of Elizabeth’s willingness to push boundaries until they’re close to breaking.
I’d been desperately trying not to compare the enigmatic Ms Walking with the similarly enigmatic Kate Bush. It just seemed too easy, too glib. But then ‘Bell Tower’ came along and I just couldn’t resist any longer. It sounds like the missing link between the teenage Bush and David Sylvian at his avant garde best. But it’s with the albums centrepiece, the simply stunning ‘Changelings’, that Elizabeth really raises the stakes. A siren song of existential lyrics and dark electronica, it’s the point at which everything that is good about Gazelle Twin coalesce, It’s chilling and beautiful, eerie and enchanting, haunting and ghostly. The rest of the tracks on the album are merely the supporting cast, the aperitif. That’s not to say that they’re not good it’s just that ‘Changelings’ is in a different league and the other tracks suffer a little in comparison.
As you may have gathered The Entire City is not a party album. I can guarantee that Nintendo won’t be bringing out a Wii sing Gazelle Twin any time soon but, depending on how your life is going, it could be the most uplifting album of the year or the sound that tips you over the edge making the tears flow and your heart break.