Brought up between Berlin and the West Midlands, based in London, Roxanne de Bastion is a singer-songwriter whose debut album, Heirlooms & Hearsay, was a pleasant if unexceptional work. It seemed perfectly suited to the folk festival circuit, apart from a couple of outlier tracks that hinted at something stranger. It’s gratifying to report that builds on that promise. With help from Bernard Butler’s imaginative production, De Bastion broadens her sound ambitiously, to great effect.
There are little elements of psych, new wave, late Beatles, indie folk and synthpop, corralled by her clear, pure intonation and unfussy delivery. It does mean that whenever the songs stray back to a more basic feel, the album drags a bit, particularly in its middle section. Much preferable is the outstanding single Molecules, a whirlwind of guitar fuzz, lowing cello and existential pondering, or the gentle grace of I Remember Everything, which considers what it’s like to be neuro-diverse. Best of all might be the last minute of wide-eyed piano ballad London, I Miss You, as it collapses into the arms of the final song via an eerie, echoey coda that sounds like it was recorded in the bowels of platform 9¾.