Joanna Newsom - Ys (3 stars)

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Joanna Newsom - Ys

Avante folk

The team behind Joanna Newsom’s second LP is enough to make anyone tremble with anticipation: Van Dyke Parks arranged, Steve Albini produced, Jim O’Rourke mixed. In combination with her untouchable talent as a singer and harpist (her 2004 debut ‘The Milk Eyed Mender’ remains one of the most splendid records of the 21st century) this couldn’t fail to be special.

It doesn’t, but then neither does it meet its potential. Comprising five, ten-minute odd tracks of sighing, otherworldly neo-folk, it’s hard to break down, failing to match the classical with the contemporary in such perfect accord as her first offering. Pretty, but not quite the sum of its parts.

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