Singer-songwriter Petra Jean Phillipson (PJP) released her singer-songwriter debut Notes on Love seven years ago. While Notes on Love hardly propelled PJP into everlasting success, tracks such as the hauntingly beautiful 'One Day' set the bar high for a follow-up.

With Notes on Death, the most obvious deviation from the debut is its track listing - the record is split into two sections, 'Noir' and 'Blanc' which contrast musically as much as suggested. 'Noir', predictably, sounds gothic and spooked. 'Blanc', on the contrary, is a more countrified approach - a softly and caringly crafted expedition through PJ Harvey-esque folk.

Phillipson displays quirky and interesting streaks of flair that outdo most female vocalists for sophistication - but there's perhaps something to learn from her pop counterparts to help aid a more harmonious future approach. PJP explains on her blog: "as a child I felt as though I had no voice." Lyrically, Phillipson's song writing is impressive and incorporates some thoughtful ideas. Notes on Death is undoubtedly a record of liberation, but her introverted childhood has brought out a more interesting experimental side musically, rather than an album full of radically divisive or outspoken lyrics.

Of the two contrasting records that complete this record, it's the 'Noir' section that shows the most promising signs of experimental song composition. Throughout 'Noir' PJP indulges in a variety of musical elements that showcase a rugged and irregular pattern where nostalgic and avant-garde sit unified. It sounds like an impossible juxtaposition on paper, but when tracks such as 'You Ask For It', a short and punchy track powered by electric guitars sit next to the rustic and gothic 'My Love Resides In The Garden' it seems a more suitable description.

'Blanc' isn't to be avoided. It may not be quite as interesting as 'Noir' but 'Blanc' does display solid song writing with purpose and meaning - it just craves a little of the novelty that its counterpart gloats. Harmonious tracks including the traditional and pastoral 'And Lilith Said To Adam' are the obvious choice for country-folk fans - and there's no doubt that 'Blanc' is the easiest listening of the two segments. While both 'Noir' and 'Blanc' contrast radically, somewhat ironically a hybrid of these two very different records could be the perfect concoction.

It's ill-timed and unfortunate, but inarguably true that Notes on Death does sit subtly in the shadow of PJ Harvey's Let England Shake. Coincidently, it's more than their initials that are analogous. But PJP has crafted more than a mediocre emulation of a brilliant record. While Notes on Death at times does struggle to resonante anything memorable - flickers of artful experimentation pull it aside.