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Luna Rossa - 'Sleeping Pills & Lullabies' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/59/f3/ea/Luna-Rossa-Sleeping-Pills-And-Lullabies-31-1378684713.jpeg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     September 08, 2013    
 
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An entrancing, enchanting and inspiring body of work.

This album is a collection of acoustic material written and performed by Anne-Marie Helder and Jonathan Edwards, the driving force behind Panic Room. With Helder and Edwards handling almost everything themselves, the pair decided to present this collection of stripped down (but no less intricate, and no less exciting) compositions under the name Luna Rossa.

In terms of chronology, the material actually follows on from the second Panic Room album. "The songs were recorded over two years ago when we had a break after recording 'Satellite'," says Edwards. "But after completing the Luna Rossa album, things were busy with Panic Room. At the moment, we have a 'breather' from other work, so it felt like now's a good time to launch Luna Rossa into our musical world."

Given its origins it should come as little surprise that 'Sleeping Pills & Lullabies' is very much in the same vein as much of Panic Room's more serene moments. But the songs themselves – all originals aside from a cover of The Magnetic Fields' 'The Book Of Love' – have a delicacy and passion, and are rich in diversity. Stripped down, rather than overlaid with instrumentation, and sometimes sympathetically supported by a small string section, the songs' minimalism in backing often adds to rather than subtracts from the way they come across.

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"We wanted to make something that was delicate (as you say) but with its own quiet strength too; a strength that didn't necessarily come from electricity and volume," Edwards explains. "Something that would sound fresh and contemporary but also have a sense of the familiar about it. Although at the end of the day, we just wanted to achieve what we always want to achieve – to make a collection of great songs that connects with listeners and moves them."

There's much to discover as the album unveils its secrets. There's 'La Clef', a song Helder delivers almost breathlessly in French; the upbeat, guitar-driven 'Mad About You'; the impossibly emotional 'Scream At The Sky'; and 'Fight Or Flight', a song which, driven by some programmed drums and excitable orchestration, is the closest Luna Rossa come to 'flooring it'. And saving the best till last, the luscious 'Cloud' – spoken rather than sung by Helder – gives way to the arousing and haunting 'Gasp'.

"Lyrically, there's no concept as such, although most of the songs are about relationships either going wrong, or going right. It did strike us that the album was somewhat 'bi-polar' in its approach to love and life and this inspired the album title: the idea of two different ways of falling asleep, one coming from a 'happy' place and the other more dark and ambiguous. So a metaphor for life, concludes Edwards, "and more catchy than 'Songs Of Hope & Despair'!"
'Sleeping Pills & Lullabies' is an entrancing, enchanting and inspiring body of work but don't just take my word for it – go to www.lunarossa.co.uk and see for yourself.

John Tucker

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