Snowbird is something of supergroup; founded by Simon Raymonde of that little band we know as Cocteau Twins, and Stephanie Dosen, whose debut record was produced and released by Raymonde on Bella Union, the label he co-founded with Robin Guthrie. Naturally what will draw most people to this record is the involvement of Raymonde, as well as the list of super players who all contributed to its creation, including members of Radiohead and Midlake.

In true whimsical Cocteau-esque form, the themes of illumination, night time and the moon are deep rooted throughout the record. Ramyonde himself explains that it was recorded at night for the sake of creating the mood they were reaching for: a warm lunar glow that you can hear with every peak and valley of Dosen's voice. On opening track 'I Heard The Owl Call My Name', we hear the a gated guitar meet a similar vocal melody that gracefully stumbles upon itself, reminiscent of something you'd hear from School of Seven Bells. The song shares a name with a book by Margaret Craven about an Anglican vicar sent to a parish in a remote First Nations village in British Columbia to discover the meaning of life. Whether this is intentional or not is unclear, but knowing this sets a tone of a sort of midnight pilgrimage about to begin.

Stephanie Dosen has a rich history of luring in major players in British music; Massive Attack and Chemical Brothers have all asked her to sing on their records, and it is easy to see why; her voice is versatile, nymph-like and romantic. There are certain moments where you have to wonder if her delicate delivery of such pretty melodies is overkill. On 'Porcelain' we hear her at her best, in a sort of This Mortal Coil like moonlit dance of melody, piano and ambient instrumentation. 'In Lovely' also practices a similar restraint, inviting shadows from haunting guitar tones and cinematic backing vocals. Occasionally, it can feel a little saccharine. In these moments, the instrumentation are what keep the song grounded. Perhaps a perfect match of music and voice would be in 'All Wishes Are Ghosts', a meeting point between Dosen's lush and gorgeous vocals and the tasteful, innovative instrumentation.

It's easy to say this album is "pretty", but there are definite shadows of yearning and loneliness that also comes from the ambience and instrumentation provided by Philip Selway and Ed O'Brien of Radiohead, Eric Pulido of Midlake, Jonathan Wilson and a handful of other notable names. The restraint and delicate nature of their performances compliment her voice and help showcase her unusual style of singing. It's no wonder that Simon Raymonde has claimed to not have worked with any other female vocalists since Elizabeth Fraser. He also states in a press release that it is very much Dosen's record, and I couldn't agree more. A feather in the snow could be implied in the artwork designed by Vaughan Oliver, who also did the artwork, known for many classic 4AD album covers (including Cocteau Twins). It's a fitting metaphor: a warm thought for the cold hearted.