The Sand and the Stars album cover
The Sand and the Stars

Movietone

2003
Domino

Their final album, The Sand and the Stars is Movietone’s masterpiece. There’s a richness to its emotional tone that the group hadn’t quite divined before, and the collective sound has achieved an elevated sympathy. Parts of the album were recorded outdoors, by the shore – a review by John Mulvey of Movietone’s prior album, The Blossom Filled Streets had described it as sounding like “an old jazz record playing in the house across the bay,” which inspired the group to make that vision real. But that’s just part of what’s going on here – the sound palette is expansive, a dreamscape built from acoustic guitars, banjo, piano and deep, purring strings, and Kate Wright is no longer the sole voice you hear, with both Rachel Brook and Sam Jones stepping up to take lead duties at various points. The songs here are alive with spirits, with circumstance, with the unplanned and the magical.

Jon Dale

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